I guess it's obvious that in order to be a leader, you need followers. But much of what I read in terms of popular management advice seems to treat leadership as something akin to filling up a toolbox. If you can create a vision, give killer PowerPoint, radiate more energy than the sun, fill out a SWOT matrix, develop strategy and motivate like Gen. George S. Patton, you, too, can be a leader.
But these attributes don't really get to the heart of the issue, do they? There are plenty of managers in possession of these capabilities, but they aren't leaders. They may have people reporting to them, but no one is following out of a sense of inspiration or commitment.
So how do you get people to follow you with their hearts and minds? A recent newsletter from Harvard Business Review listed these four qualities as essential. The tips come from HBR's 10 Must Reads on Leadership:
- Humanness. Nobody wants to work with a perfect leader. Build collaboration and solidarity by revealing your weaknesses.
- Intuition. To be most effective, you need to know what's going on without others spelling it out for you. Collect unspoken data from body language and looks given across rooms to help you intuit the underlying messages.
- Tough empathy. Care deeply about your employees, but accept nothing less than their very best.
- Uniqueness. Demonstrate that you are a singular leader by showing your unique qualities to those around you.