Leadership qualities for the long haul

What leadership qualities do you need to sustain performance over a long career? Leadership is a tough gig; we need to ensure we’ve got all the tools we need to go the distance.

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In my work with CEOs, I am privileged to hear about the many exciting, and sometimes excruciating challenges. What surprises me most is how common a few of them are.

One of the things CEOs tell me is:

They wonder if they are living up to their potential.

Even the most experienced leaders wonder if they’re doing a good job or if they might be falling short. They also ponder if they could handle something bigger, make a bigger difference.

Is it a confidence issue?

Leaders don’t need confidence; they need courage.

Let’s take a look at the other key attributes of leadership for the long haul.

Clichés are sometimes helpful. “You don’t know until you try” is a useful paradigm.

But you don’t want to wing it.

We have hidden leadership strengths – let’s reveal them

Doubt is a sign of humility. Lean on that. The most compelling leaders are humble. They don’t assume they’ve got all the answers and invite contributions from others. It’s a great way to avoid blindspots while getting better insights.

Lack of clarity drives curiosity. Leaders need to help make the confusing clear. But we don’t do that without first being curious about what is going on.

The most important leadership quality: care

When we care about what we do, we pay attention to details.

When we care about who we serve, we are more compassionate.

When we care about who we work with, we create a safe place for people to grow and contribute.

Which leadership qualities do you have already that will support you over a long career? Can you be more courageous? Could you nurture doubt to allow more humility? Could you be more curious when confused? How might you be more caring?


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