5 Top Leadership Attributes

According to CEO Challenge 2014, a survey of CEOs, presidents and chairmen from more than 1,000 companies around the world, the top five leadership attributes are:

  1. Integrity
  2. Leading change
  3. Managing complexity
  4. An entrepreneurial mindset
  5. The ability to retain and develop talent

Our reflections on these leadership attributes:

  • Integrity – results and relationships are the twin markers of this attribute. As a leader are you achieving results and maintaining great relationships or are you leaving a wake of dead bodies behind you as you accomplish great things? Integrity is also about wholeness. Are you living a fully integrated life that reflects all of who you are?
  • Leading change – in order to lead you must have followers. In order to lead change you must build trust, communicate effectively, build support for the changes and be an exemplar for the change. Being an exemplar of change leads back to integrity. If your words and actions don’t match (integrity) you will lose trust and be a poor representative of the change.
  • Managing complexity – we are drowning in information, activities and stuff. Enough already! The best leaders make meaning out of the madness and simplify whenever possible. The business methodology of the same name addresses the activities around the four pillars of strategy, transparency, total value chain and sustainability. All that translates into focusing on what really matters and eliminating the rest. Are you simplifying or making things more complex?
  • An entrepreneurial mindset – this does not mean starting new businesses! This is about taking risks and having perseverance. An entrepreneurial mindset involves taking advantage of opportunities in the market by planning, organizing and making use of resources. Are you taking advantage of opportunities by paying attention and being ready to respond?
  • The ability to retain and develop talent – people are not fungible resources that can be swapped out like a hard drive. This is a knowledge economy and the real winners are leaders who pay attention to the strengths of their people and build high performing teams by leveraging strengths. This is what the engagement research is all about. It’s nice if your people rate you highly on engagement survey but what really matters is whether or not your people are bringing all of themselves to work every day and giving you their discretionary effort.

Assess yourself against these five leadership attributes and determine your strengths and where you can make some improvements. You are a leader in some capacity of your life. Maximize your potential and apply these top five leadership attributes.

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