Jul 22 2018
Leadership and Management
Should you ask anyone about the characteristics of an effective leader, chances are you will get heartwarming answers such as: visionary, good communicator, inspiring, knowledgeable, experienced, supportive and honest. Most people would probably agree with this list and maybe add other qualities that have affected them when they interacted with a favorite leader. I can almost guarantee that these additional qualities will be even more beautiful and heartwarming than those already listed. They will be the type of qualities we all aspire to have.
In his book Give and Take, Adam Grant divides people into three categories based on their interaction with others. They are either takers, matchers or givers. Takers are the receivers of help, credit, or niceties. Givers are the opposite; they provide these niceties to others. Matchers, who happen to be the majority of people, are reciprocators. As such, they are cautious providers. Grant argues that effective and successful leaders fall in the second category, the givers.
Looking at the list of leadership qualities mentioned above, one can justifiably be curious and ask about what they have in common. Well, the answer is simple enough. It is selflessness! Every one of these qualities is about recognizing the sort of support another person needs and extending that support to them. Think of any great and revered leader and it is guaranteed they will be selfless. These leaders always put others first. They ask themselves: how can I serve and support? They are driven by their belief in the greater good of the people and of the organization.
How do effective leaders reach this noble state of selflessness? The answer is also simple. It is through the first two pillars of emotional intelligence: self-awareness and self-management. These givers are always on the lookout for their negative emotions and negative thoughts. And when negativity peeks its ugly head they don’t run from it. They face it and won’t allow themselves to be hijacked by it. Instead, they analyze it and try to understand where it came from thus disempowering it. Finally, they consciously choose to replace it with positivity.
Final question: Are you up to the challenge of becoming an effective leader?
Written by: Ibrahim Al Yafi, Partner with Meirc