Leadership skills do not make a great leader. Why? What does make the difference to greatness? How can we leverage skills to be great leaders and do that naturally?
Our regular contributors, Prof. Angus McLeod and Jean-Carl Palmyre, offer collaborative advice from contemporary, global management and sport.
Nowadays, there is more and more debate about leadership from many spheres and increasingly, confusion what leader-traits will meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.
Leadership is the process by which one individual influences the behaviours, attitudes and thoughts of others in terms of vision and engagement. The vision attracts others to see and feel what lies ahead and to rise to the challenge. Engagement is a broader task, aligning individual talents to the corporate objective. Leadership pushes us to dream big and to inspire those around us to take action; to accomplish the seemingly impossible.
Some celebrated business leaders have natural charisma (free of expressed ego) that makes them human magnets, attracting ‘followship’ in all stakeholders around them, stimulating talent and customers to be part of the business family. Not everyone has charisma, but key leadership traits will always match the performance of the charismatic leader. It is good news to know that these leader traits can be developed!
In most arenas, public, private and commercial, leadership is best underpinned by real respect for other humans, inside and outside the organization. The younger generation are no longer willing to be parked in silos, they want to communicate widely. Indeed, they are generally better team-players than we were at the same age; they demand and expect respect (sometimes, even before they reach adequate performance)!
And younger executives are increasingly motivated by altruistic endeavours; making genuine contribution to society, not just financial performance. Since these young leaders will one day take over the reins of power from us, we must take heed of their desires for altruism now. In return, they will demonstrate to us how altruism can create customer loyalty and better business performance.
Leadership skills should never be the main aim of developing ourselves! What leaders need is outcomes; great leaders need people to follow and support them; they want ‘followship’.
The quality of followship is observable and measureable. Followship happens when people trust the leader and are self-motivated to support the leader’s agendas, due to trusting engagement and confidence in the path being taken.
 When your authors focused on followship as an outcome of great leadership, they unearthed a powerful sub-set of leaders-skills; these being more impactful than the rest.