Effective Leaders: Self-Aware, Not Self-Absorbed
In a recent study of sustained business success in organizations, the characteristics and traits of their executive leader was an area of particular focus. The results are compelling.
Based on a sliding scale of behavior styles, the study asked members of the senior leadership team for their view of the executive leader. One particular response summed it up best. The most enduringly successful leaders are “self-aware rather than self-absorbed.”
While technical expertise, business savvy, sound decision making, fair-mindedness, and good judgement are all desired (required) traits, the leader will fall short if their ego is so overwhelming that success is more about the individual than the organization. And while personality matters, there are four traits which individually and collectively form the foundation for leadership success. The impact they have on organizations is “huge.”
Humility, Understanding, Gratitude, and Empathy are four of the most consistently named traits. While this may not fit the most popular take when considering high-profile leaders, it turns out that these four, combined with the skills and attributes listed above are among the most identified characteristics of leaders in organizations enjoying long term success.
Humility, not false modesty is evidenced by leaders who understand they need competent, qualified team members around them who compliment their strengths and fill in the gaps where they are less prolific.
Understanding and awareness means they are in tune with what is going on both inside and outside the organization and can make sense of changing trends and conditions.
Gratitude is genuine recognition of all the good things that come their way and a sincere appreciation for the people around them, be they customers, team members, suppliers and of course, friends and family.
Empathy is the ability to feel what others are feeling at any point in time in a way that allows the leader to communicate this in an effective way.
HUGE. A simple, four letter-word that serves as a helpful acronym and measures the impact of these four essential leadership traits: Humility, Understanding, Gratitude, and Empathy.
For information on ways to measure your leadership traits and those of your senior team members, contact me at email@example.com.
Joseph P. Truncale, Ph.D., CAE, is the Founder and Principal of Alexander Joseph Associates, a privately held consultancy specializing in executive business advisory services with clients throughout the graphic communications industry.
Joe spent 30 years with NAPL, including 11 years as President and CEO. He is an adjunct professor at NYU teaching graduate courses in Executive Leadership; Financial Management and Analysis; Finance for Marketing Decisions; and Leadership: The C Suite Perspective. He may be reached at Joe@ajstrategy.com. Phone or text: (201) 394-8160.