Time to toss Leadership Competencies Part 3: Future Imperative


The third of a 3-part series on leadership development in a post-COVID world

Read part 1

Read part 2

Let’s get the elephant out of the room. Are leaders born or are they made? The answer is an emphatic YES.

Courageous, empathic and visionary leaders who positively and proactively influence their world, are in short supply. They will be even more in demand as we emerge into the new world of possibility post COVID-19.

At Leading with Humanity, we believe that

“No one is born genetically encoded not to lead”

We all have innate abilities to influence our world, initially to our advantage as we grew up, but more crucially today to influence our circumstances.

That said, leadership development is an ongoing process whereby we constantly learn what works and what doesn’t work. We learn to adapt, to augment our understanding of the complex environment we live in, and how best to influence it. We should learn to primarily enhance ‘who we are’ and not just edify ‘what we should do’.

And here is where the real challenge starts.  Sadly, few people in leadership positions, know ‘who they are’. Sure, they know what they do. Their identity is their job title. But when you dig deeper there is all too often a complete void or lack of recognition as to why they are here, what their real purpose is in life, what are they rooted in and what shapes the essence of who they are.

Henry Ford said:

“There is no failure except failure to serve one’s purpose.”

Purpose is not defined by your organisation’s leadership competencies. Purpose is an understanding what is of fundamental importance to us, as individuals.  It is what guides how we will live our life.  It is upon our personal purpose, which we as leaders, will build our discreet competencies to influence our world. This is an intensely personal journey, and is everything but preordained competencies.

We need to respect that leadership is expressed in multiple ways.  Divergent situations call for vastly different leadership approaches. They call for collaborative leadership, for proactive leadership, for quiet leadership and for bold extroverted leadership, to name just a few.

Leaders who will effectively lead their businesses, their communities and their families into the post-COVID-19 world, will:

  • Be authentically themselves. They will choose to lead out of a ‘state of being’ and will not be driven by a ‘prescribed way of doing’.
  • Understand that this state of being is a constant, it is 24/7 for 365 days of the year. They will not ‘switch on’ leadership when they get to work or arrive in a particular situation.
  • Be driven by what they can give to, not by what they can get out, of any situation. They will give ideas, hope, energy, enthusiasm, space, guidance and credit.  They will enable performance, not extract it.
  • Simultaneously lead and follow. They will know when to step forward and know when to let others lead.
  • Be intensely connected. Connected to their environment, their colleagues and themselves.
  • Influence rather than control.

Unshackle your talent from operating within the chains of historical management cultures. As  potential leaders reject preordained leadership competencies and invest in developing and enhancing your purpose.  Encourage your team to reconnect with their purpose.  Enable their authenticity at work. We have the potential to unleash talented leaders who can create great opportunities from the possibilities presented by a Post-COVID world.  A world richer and more abundant than we can imagine and led by talented leaders who out of who they are, not what they do.