Donna Peeples, CEO and Chief Engagement Officer of Motivated Inc shares five simple but effective ways to instantly identify someone with genuine leadership skills.
The face of business is changing and, as a result, so are the skills that make a good leader. Experts predict that in the workplace of the future, leaders will need to be adaptable to both remote and hybrid work and will thrive in a flat organisational model of decentralised leadership. They’ll understand the role of learning and development and the value of upskilling and reskilling themselves and their coworkers. Of course, they’ll also have the right balance of soft and hard skills and be willing to focus on diversity, equality, and inclusion.
Identifying and developing these future leaders is necessary for a company’s success, but since many of these leadership trends are new, they can be harder to detect. The best leaders aren’t born but rather cultivated over time through experience, training, and dedication. A company’s leadership needs to weigh an employee’s performance and potential to identify those who will drive it to success. Here are five major clues that you’ve found a genuine leader in today’s new normal:
1. They Influence Others
Leaders influence people, not by force or through fear, but because people trust them for answers. A genuine leader will take the time to develop relationships with others through honest communication and integrity to earn their respect. Their reputation for making sound, ethical judgements leads others to seek them out for insight on current problems and foresight into oncoming trends.
People with the skills to be a leader present their true selves with confidence and others around them seek to emulate their authenticity. As John Quincy Adams once said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” Coworkers are more excited to be on the team with a genuine leader because their people-focused mindset allows them the appropriate empathy to collaborate better with others.
2. They Inspire And Are Inspired
People with the capacity to become genuine leaders are able to be mentors and be mentored. They have enough self-confidence to know when their skills would benefit others and enough humility to know when they should yield to the greater skills of someone else. Such flexibility allows them to be more civil during disagreements and express gratitude for collaboration and compromise, making their teammates feel valued.
Their dedicated drive to bring in results makes their enthusiasm contagious. When they delegate responsibility, it’s not with an air of authority, rather as a gift of empowerment, because others want to share in their enthusiasm. The inspiration they feel to grow the company helps their coworkers see how the work they do connects to the organisation’s goals, getting everyone on the same page and resulting in high-functioning teams
3. Their Energy Is Invested
When you talk with a future leader, you can tell by their passion that they are committed to becoming one. Their obvious entrepreneurial spirit comes across in a well-developed business or financial acumen that reflects a dedicated intellect towards being an expert in their field. On the other hand, the intrapreneurial spirit takes active steps towards revolutionary innovation, promoting company goals as though they were their own.
The leaders of tomorrow will be in it to win it. They’ve done their homework, understand business models, and can crunch the numbers. They get things done and make everyone around them look good while doing it. They approach each day being supportive of their coworkers, accountable for their work, and resilient to change. Confident in their own skills and where they’re capable of going, they deliver consistent results.
4. They Have A Holistic Intellect
Of course, future leaders should be savvy with the new technology and intelligent, but in a way that extends beyond having a high IQ. A leader’s social intelligence gives them excellent communication skills fitted to a variety of stakeholder groups. They make use of different channels and tools to facilitate individual and group communications and don’t shy away from tasks that require socialisation.
A leader also has a strong emotional intelligence that allows them to manage change and handle stress productively. Their high emotional IQ gives them greater self-awareness, makes them more active and mindful listeners, and allows them to display empathy, enhancing their strong social skills. But real leaders don’t just make a show of being emotionally intelligent — they genuinely care for others and you can tell.
5. They’re Relentlessly Inquisitive
Unlike someone who thinks they have nothing new to learn from anyone, the future leader is relentlessly inquisitive. They show a curiosity to learn and put thought into the questions they ask. Not only are they hungry to understand the world around them, but they’re also equally self-inquisitive and working on their own internal growth.
In their relentless pursuit of knowledge, the leaders of tomorrow will be confident enough to come to you with ways to improve instead of waiting to be asked to find them. They’re decisive, self-motivated, and self-disciplined. They follow through with their commitments and follow up when appropriate. When their efforts lead to improvements for themselves, or the company, they never hesitate to go the extra mile.
Of course, some of the leadership qualities we’ve always looked for are still the same, but in this new digital age, there are also some new traits that need cultivating in order to become a genuine leader. Leaders have a growth mindset and realise that everyone has the capacity to reach their full potential. They have an innovative mind and are willing to take risks and responsibility. They encourage productive teamwork and creative problem solving towards achieving goals. As author and leadership expert John C. Maxwell put it: “A leader knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.”