What kind of “Leader” do you want to follow?

I found this article on http://lovingwork.org/the-leader-as

Scott is trying to come up with a list of essential qualities that we all want in our leader. He is trying to think like a CEO. Do you agree with his list?

I’ve been asking myself, what kind of community of leadership I would want, if I were a CEO.

I think that what I would want for myself as a leader, and for the community as a whole, includes that we see each leader as embodying each of these things:

  • Learner – always open, always learning, always growing, humble, willing to admit mistakes and to be vulnerable, to “not know”
  • Visionary – able create a compelling personal vision of the future, and foster the creation and holding of a shared vision built on the personal contributions of many.
  • Two-way communicator – a great, curious listener, and then a clear articulator of a point of view.   Part of this is to be able to back team decisions clearly and with integrity.
  • Teacher –  able to humbly but effectively share what she knows
  • Coach – helping people identify and achieve their ambitions for personal growth
  • Encourager and appreciator of people – able to see the best, the potential, in people, and help them to see the best in themselves.   This includes forgiveness of mistakes, helping people to recover when they fail and to rise when they fall.
  • Compassionate truth teller – some conversations are hard, and some facts are brutal.  There are ways to get the toughest messages across constructively.
  • Exemplar – taking personal responsibility, being a doer, a maker, and a builder, being in integrity, walking the talk.  The leader must embody Warrior energy, which includes being willing to fight when necessary to defend and develop the community and its principles.
  • Selector of people – choosing people for the organization and steering them to the right roles
  • Architect – designing the organisation, its projects, processes, structures and tools
  • Goal setter – turning the vision into concrete objectives, for self and for others.
  • Decision maker – sometimes the buck stops here.
  • Innovator – generating, and sponsoring the generation of, new ideas; bringing ideas to life.
  • Change agent – encouraging people to do things differently when it makes sense, as so often it does.
  • Team member – often leaders are members, and not just leaders, of their teams; willing to see herself as “one of the team”.
  • Facilitator – able to help a team function well as a team; caring for individuals, team process and content.

I’m conscious that it’s a lot to ask that any one person embody all these qualities.   I also realize that many areas overlap.

As a community, however, I think these would be the qualities I would value. Each of us would find his own way, and we would find a way together,  to build on personal strengths and care for personal weaknesses in these areas.   As a leadership team, we would aspire to be strong, collectively, in all.

I consider this list work in progress; comments and suggestions very welcome.

Scott is scott@lovingwork.org and @scottdowns3 on Twitter.

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