Reading for Leading #12: Leadership – swopping MBA for MSC?

Leadership – swopping MBA for MSC?

Reading for Leading is a weekly leadership tip shared every Monday morning as a pithy suggestion, question or reflection. You can find the whole series here.

At the recent Mindful Leadership Conference, Rasmus Hougaard presented data from discussions with thousands of leaders about which traits are most important for success in the role. Three qualities consistently emerged – starting with the letters M, S, C.

The best things come in threes? As a leader, what are the three most important traits?
Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lizandcormac/4714235733/

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Thinking about leadership – what values are key for a good leader?

Last week, I attended the Mindful Leadership Summit which was an interesting few days of talks and workshops about what it means to be a leader today. Topics discussed ranged from the challenges of leadership in startup scenarios, to the specific issues facing women. There were also sessions on local politics, inclusion and presence under pressure.

In addition to the main conference, I also attended a one-day workshop, “Finding the Space to Lead” – hosted by Janice Marturano, author of a book of the same name. During the various workshop exercises, we considered which characteristics define good leadership, converging on a definition of what makes a good leader (also in Janice’s book):

Leaders are able to:

  1. Connect – to themselves, to others, to the wider community
  2. Skilfully initiate or guide change by:

being responsive

being able to hold ambiguity

being collaborative

being respectful

being creative

It struck me that not only are these good leadership skills, but they’re also the skills of good community managers.

In the workshop, it was also emphasised that these two core skills are very deliberately in the order listed – it’s important to connect first before trying to implement change. Which means listening, learning and understanding the people and environment in which you’re working, before precociously heading for a prescribed solution.

What do you think? Are there any skills missing here – or any that often go unrecognised or are harder to develop?