The Chemistry of Leadership is a delicate balance between what is in a leader’s psychological make up, and those skills and expertise which if they are not present can be developed or learned. When I say “leadership is in your DNA,” I mean your “psychological being”, not necessarily in your genes.
In gourmet cooking there are many recipes with similar ingredients in different quantities, all which can result in an award winning meal, and the same can be said for the chemistry of leadership.
A great leader might have some of these, most of them, or all of the following ingredients, in various proportion or intensity.
asks questions and listens. Curiosity leads to a thirst for learning. Curiosity facilitates thinking ahead (being curious about the future) which results in being able to solve problems before they happen, or even preventing them. Curiosity gives one the insight to understand the reality of now (see it like it is) and thereby know just how to adapt to a changing world. In other words, a leader will have the flexibility ingredient.
is about respecting others, mentoring, helping people, wanting to make a positive difference. This “caring” mindset of a leader will nurture honesty and transparency as they look inward, and in their relationship with others. Even leaders deemed ruthless by the other side, may have an element of caring for people, even if they are only compassionate for their own.
in this context it is a willingness to go where no man (or woman) has gone before; it means thinking outside the box, being innovative, inspiring, empowering and motivating others to go down the path of “adventure” to accomplish a challenge or goal.
The following attributes can usually be learned, even developed, whether by observation or under a mentor but as often as not they are found in leaders in one form or other, as part of their psychological makeup.
Being a great communicator
A leader listens… not only do they listen but they hear. A great leader asks many questions, considers all options and makes decisions, which are the most beneficial for the team, group, company or organization. There are many facets to being a great communicator and many ways in which this is shown. Not all leaders are great orators, or have a compelling video presence, yet their message comes through loud and clear in other ways, such as in their writing, collaborating with a team, negotiating or speaking one on one.
A confident leader has well defined values, they know what they know and also what they don’t know; so being humble about what they don’t know, asking questions and asking for help actually increases people’s perception of a leader’s confidence.
Those in leadership roles are some of the most committed people I know. They are focused on the task at hand, interested in people (rather that trying to be interesting themselves) and are implementers who can be relied on to get the job done alone, or with a team.
A resourceful leader knows both how to use the available resources and create resources that are needed to further an endeavor or solve a problem or challenge. It’s a matter of finding exactly what is needed at any given time, and the ability to use it efficiently. This applies both to material things and people as a resource, but where people are utilized it’s not “use”, instead it is “inspire” and “empower” people to be effective.
Confidence and respect cannot be attained without leadership being consistent. This means consistent in meeting expectations, not in terms of being consistently ordinary or boring. In fact many great leaders are considered unpredictable because they are innovative, they suddenly and often come up with new ideas; this is actually a quite usual (consistent) attribute of a great leader
Being able to delegate
This can be difficult to learn, but without the ability to delegate even the ablest of leaders fall down; because no one can do everything themselves. Who to delegate, how to match abilities to tasks is what makes the chemistry of effective teams or groups; and this happens when everyone is totally committed to their roles in an operation or organization A part of the delegation scenario is recognizing and rewarding those who succeed!