Would it surprise you if I said that most organisations I’ve come across are “light on leadership”?
What do I mean by that?
I don’t mean there’s an absence of people with the words ‘Head of’ or ‘Manager’ or even ‘Director’ in their job title.
I mean they’re light on leadership.
Over the last couple of decades, I’ve had the privilege of working with and studying dozens of truly world class leaders – Red Arrows leaders, elite special forces leaders, world cup winning coaches and gold medal winning Olympic coaches, victorious racing yacht skippers, Michelin starred chefs and many more.
I’ve learned that there are five qualities that you’ll consistently find in world class leaders.
I call these the Five Keys to World Class Leadership.
The first is ‘Depth of Leadership’
Another is that they ‘Lead through Influence’… not authority, instruction or direction, but influence.
This understanding helps illuminate one of the fundamental truths of leadership.
Leadership is not dictated by leaders.
It’s dictated by followers.
Bizarrely, I learned how this really works from pigeons!
You’re only a leader if others choose to follow you.
Why would people choose to follow you?
Why would they choose to follow your leaders?
A friend of mine, Floyd (a former SAS Major) helped bust a myth. I asked him why people are willing to follow him into battle, where their lives are on the line.
He said the myth is that he has more knowledge… more experience… or that he’ll come up with the right answer.
He said, “The truth is, I don’t always have the right answer. I’m human. I make mistakes too”.
So, why do they follow him into potentially deadly situations?
The headline answer is, “Trust”.
But the question is… How does he develop that trust?
How does he become worthy of their trust?
Being trustworthy is a critical characteristic in leadership.
Importantly it is a characteristic… an element of character!
It’s not a skill or even a personality trait.
In fact, if I asked you to describe the qualities you prize in leaders, you’d tell me about character. That usual-suspect, flipchart list, is made up of characteristics.
You know the ones…
And so on…
You’ll probably have your own list. Honestly, it doesn’t really matter which words we choose. Whichever words we pick, the question is…
How do we develop these qualities… these characteristics?
Developing character is not easy, which is why most people don’t do it. It’s far easier to increase knowledge or train skills. Knowledge can be acquired from books. Skills can be trained on courses.
Character is not knowledge or skill.
Therefore, you can’t develop characteristics by reading books or attending courses. Perhaps this is why character development tends not to feature in most leadership and management training.
It is also why developing character is absolutely central to our world class leadership development programmes!
Once we have that foundation, we can start to build the Five Keys to World Class Leadership.
If you want to…
… then why not take advantage of our “World Class Leadership – Espresso” programme. It’s absolutely FREE to get started.