The ‘born or made’ debate regarding leadership has raged for centuries. My specialism is executive search in manufacturing organisations; in this world Industry 4.0 has arrived and is fundamentally shifting the jobs that humans will undertake in the future. The idea you can be born and succeed with your ‘natural’ leadership ability is not going to fly.
Of course we are all born with our own distinct genetic make-up, developing characteristics that we hone through personal and professional experience. Positive leadership traits are obvious to us all and the best leaders share common characteristics:
- Confidence - they exude gravitas and charisma, whether an introvert or extrovert in personality; reassuring those around them with calm, insightful direction.
- Learning through experience - they have been there and done it, often learning and improving through trial and error, passing down lessons learnt without pre-judging your course of action.
- Intelligence - as well as having a high IQ, they have also developed a high EQ; clearly bright but also good listeners and emotionally in tune with what makes people tick.
Modern organisations have realised the value of diverse leadership and the benefits of supporting continuous personal development. Adaptability has never been more important and, whilst some innate personality characteristics can be helpful, the good news is there is now a more level playing field for those looking to rise to the top.
The leaders we most admire are those that positively change with life’s lessons. Willingness to evolve your skills will be critical to navigating the rapid technological advances and complexities of modern business. The need for visionary leaders is greater today than ever before and a desire to challenge yourself is a pre-requisite for success.
David Thomas specialises in recruiting senior management and leadership positions in the manufacturing and engineering sectors at Berwick Partners.