by Anthony Middlebrooks, Scott J. Allen, Mindy S. McNutt and James L. Morrison
Your brain is a lean, mean, pattern making machine that loves to construct mental models of the world as you interact with the world. Those interactions and experiences have helped form your conception of leaders and leadership . . . some of which might be mistaken. But, the more you become aware of your own conceptions, the more broadly you can perceive the world, including leadership.
Misconceptions about leaders and leadership can be more easily understood within the framework of the definition: process of influencing others toward a common vision. Rule #1 (It’s about you.) and Rule #2 (It’s not about you.) provide additional guidance.
Effective leaders possess specific traits. The challenge lies in identifying what specific traits fit a specific situation, context, challenge, and group of followers. Nonetheless, as you design your leadership, it is important to know what traits you possess, where they are best used, and what traits you aspire to develop.
Likewise, effective leaders have a menu of skills that can be learned and developed as tools for a variety of leadership activities—influencing others, developing relationships, crafting vision, facilitating other’s success, and so on. Skills can be very specific or fall into general categories. One helpful way of organizing skills is by technical, human, and conceptual skills. Leaders need to shift their emphasis to different skills as they move to different roles and levels within an organization.
The list of what effective leaders could or should know, be able to do, or be like is quite vast. Some have tried to make sense of these by creating competencies, distinguishing between leadership and management, and envisioning what an expert leader might look like. Whatever combination of personal attributes you possess, developing your credibility and CORE provide you transferable assets for effective leadership.