8 powers of leadership

One of the great benefits of being the chair of The Executive Connection is the opportunity to hear great speakers and to continue the learning journey of life.

This week I attended the annual TEC conference in Sydney. As usual there were some great speakers, but I was particularly struck by the presentation by Colin James, who has given me permission to paraphrase his message.

Colin’s message about leadership was powerful, not just because of the content but also because of the manner in which it was delivered. I strongly recommend you view his presentation.

His powers of true leadership are:

  1. The power to face up. This is all about courage. The ability to make difficult decisions and the courage to face up to difficult challenges and to take others with you.
  2. The power to pack up. By this he meant the ability to let go of the past, to leave bitterness, regret and all those other debilitating energies behind. Of course, Nelson Mandela was his best example of this quality of leadership.
  3. Power to discern. A great leader has the ability to select quality people to make the right choices. This leader operates from a rich history of experience. On the way to discernment we make mistakes, but our mistakes can become our greatest source of learning and wisdom.
  4. The power to be decisive. The ability to make quick and powerful decisions. A great leader knows that indecision saps energy and most decisions can be reversed.
  5. The power to merge. The best way to describe this power is like the river that takes pollution into the ocean which is soon cleared as it gets to the sea – a great leader can absorb the negatives and turn them into positives. Most people are like vacuum cleaners and simply absorb negativity, but leaders turn this around.
  6. The power to tolerate. A great leader has to give back sweetness to turn bitterness around, tolerating the views of others. As Stephen Covey says, seek first to understand then to be understood.
  7. The power to withdraw. Great leaders must get to know themselves and in knowing themselves, can know and understand others. Ghandi spent an hour every day withdrawing to contemplate and reflect.
  8. The power to co-operate. To get co-operation a great leader needs to be persuasive and close to their team.

I found these qualities not only to be great for leaders, but also for each of us who want to take control of our own lives and live according to our values and beliefs.
Source: Marcia Griffin (Smart Company e-Newsletter Wednesday, 23 July 2008)

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