Four keys to the most important leadership

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Four keys to the most important leadership

Have you ever asked yourself what it even means to lead? Have you never asked since you have some fancy title, a chauffeur? People always seem to be at your beck and call? Do you have a lot of money and therefore you think you are entitled to be a leader?

When many people think of leadership they think of status, power, influence, money and strength. Leaders you might admire (or are told by society to admire) might be people like King Sejong, Napoleon, Lee Kun-hee or even Steve Jobs.

For over the past decade as I’ve been studying and researching leadership theories and working with some of the world’s top leadership analysts, people’s ideas of leadership tend to be all over the map. And sadly, I’m not alone in knowing that just because people have a title does not make them a leader.

Of course, this is rather a sad fact of many organizations, and here in Korea it is no different. As a leadership analyst, I get frustrated at times seeing such ridiculous forms of leadership and people expecting to get things done well. From schools and parents (i.e. leaders?) pushing their kids to ace tests without ever understanding the information creating automatons and noncreative thinkers, to mid-level manager leaders who take the credit for ideas and success from those working on their team shamelessly because they can.

Going global means understanding what will really last in the long term. Overall, poorly thought out plans and mis- or micromanaging will never get an organization to bring out its potential or the potential of its members. One or two people do not make a nation great. The combined sum of people who are motivated towards self-awareness and leadership individually do.

After many years of sustained leadership research, there are almost as many perspectives on leadership as leaders. But in uncovering the keys to the most important leadership traits, behaviors and skills for leaders, here are the top four: strategic, communication/ interpersonal, leadership and adaptability.

There is no magic cure-all pill for great leadership, but use the research and analysis available. You might be surprised that it actually works.

* The author is Host of Arirang TV’s talk show “The INNERview” and executive director of The Padma Institute.

by Susan Lee MacDonald
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