Several years ago, Richard Davis published The Intangibles of Leadership: The 10 Qualities of Superior Executive Performance. It seeks to answer the question: what is the real difference between competent leader and extraordinary executive? Is it pedigree, experience, intelligence? The answer is yes...and much more. Based on this research and as part of his GLS 2015 opening talk, Bill Hybels gives us a condensed version with these five intangibles that bridge the gap from competent to extraordinary.
Do you have "grit"?
What is grit, you ask? It is a passion & perseverance over the long haul. It is an unremitting long term tenacity. Gritty people believe to the core of their being that they can complete the challenge before them. Think Lincoln. Think Ghandi. Think Mandela. Think MLK.
The archenemy of grit? Ease. The development of grit demands a degree of difficulty - so all you helicopter parents out there that are trying to make sure your child has a happy and stressfree life... you are doing them no favors. In addition to mental and emotional grit, elite leaders have figured out overcoming physical challenges through rigorous sport contributes to grit. Richard Branson has attempted to navigate the Atlantic in a powerboat, cross the Pacific in a hot air balloon and leap into thin air on a skydiving expedition. The boat sank, the balloon caught on fire and, during his skydiving freefall, Branson pulled the wrong release tag, jettisoning his parachute.
When senior leaders develop grit, it makes the whole organization gritty
Are you self-aware?
When you read about a meltdown in an organization, it's usually based on a lack of awareness on behalf of the leader. It starts with blindspots. Raise your hand if you think your boss has some blindspots. Raise your hand if you think you do.
See, there's the problem. Most if not all of you raised your hand for the first question but not the second. Well, then, just who are these blind-spotted leaders, then, if not you? A blindspot is something you think you do well, but everyone else knows you don't. Average blindspot per leader? 3.4
The simplest way to combat blindspottedness is to ask those close to you. Trust me, they'll be prepared with an answer. I asked my husband. He's still working on the list. Another way is to do a deep dive self-examination to understand how your past is affecting the decisions you are making today. How are your decisions tethered to an unaware driver? Who are you trying to prove yourself to? What fears have you not faced?
Be prepared to face the brutal, honest truth in order to release yourself.
Are you resourceful?
Or asked another way, are you an agile learner? Agile learners are quick learners - and quick learners grow fast. They stay with a problem until they figure it out. Think about the Wright Brothers. They experimented. They failed. They made adjustments. They failed. And then, they figured it out. The primary way that resourcefulness gets develop is to put yourself in situations that are confused and broken, and figure out a way to make it work.
If you want to see who in your organization is resourceful, identify real problems that need solving and assemble small task forces of young leaders to tackle the problems.
Are you self-sacrificing?
Here I continue my quest to make "love" an acceptable word in the workplace. Do you love the people you lead? Do you make it personal? Vision is not the core of leadership. Neither is problem-solving. Or strategy. Self-sacrificing love is. It melds and molds groups of people into a compassion-filled, service-focused organization. In a time when trust is low and cynicism is high, altruistic love, deep personal concern, must start with the senior leader. Demonstrating love to your colleagues humanizes your culture.
Are you infusing a sense of meaning in the life of your colleagues?
Remember Simon Sinek? His TED Talk, "How Great Leaders Inspire Action" has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with the question "Why?" Be a CMO - a Chief Meaning Officer - to help your team understand the why behind the "what" and the "how" of their daily work life. Understand what your "white-hot why" is... what moves you, what drives you, what fuels you to greater heights. Then go help your team find theirs.