Personal Leadership Qualities

DECEMBER 1 / Donna Kennedy-Glans

THERE IS A lot of pressure on organizations of all kinds to be fairer, more accountable, and more sustainable. Significant social movements—as diverse as MeToo, Occupy, Black Lives Matter, Arab Spring, Fridays for Future, to name but a few—pressure companies, government agencies and non-profits to step up and do things differently.

Does your enterprise have the organizational agility to navigate new risks and the curiosity to keep evolving? Do you have the willpower to keep moving forward, especially when the future is uncertain? What qualities do leaders need—in today’s rapidly changing world—to teach a dinosaur to dance?  

Effective leaders require a range of personal skills and qualities:  

Foundational Leadership Skills for Emergent Leaders: These are basic requirements of every enterprise leader, for example, sense-making, assessing risk, decision-making and executing to plan.  

Additional Leadership Skills for Experienced Leaders: These are skills demonstrated by more experienced enterprise leaders who are starting to break away from the pack, and include competencies like collaborating, suspending, experimenting and imagining.  

Emerging Leadership Skills for Seasoned Leaders: These are rarer skills that are becoming increasingly important to organizations, and include competencies like patterning, stewardship, catalyzing and being able to deal with paradox.  

What does your enterprise’s inventory of personal leadership skills include? Leadership and the skills required to navigate an infinitely more complex world are never static. What’s needed to survive and thrive continues to evolve. Is it time for leadership skills refresh in your organization?  

New Leadership  

The sustainability and relevance of any enterprise are contingent on the continuity of leadership. How does your enterprise build internal capacity, including designing and implementing a plan for new leadership?  

Building the skills of emerging leadership requires an intentional mentoring culture and one that all organizational leaders are committed to every single day. Formal succession plans and training are necessary, but new builders take cues from the small things too, including the stories leaders tell. This is how values and culture get shared. The cost of not getting this right is huge; people are choosing to leave workplaces with toxic cultures in droves.  

If you are an enterprise leader, a big part of your job is to build other leaders. In fact, it’s a real sign of success to ultimately work yourself out of a job and create the conditions for new builders to steward the enterprise.  

For a full inventory of personal leadership skills, see Andre Mamprin’s Essential Elements of Leadership tool.

Personal Leadership Elements, Teaching the Dinosaur to Dance: Moving beyond Business as Usual