Becoming a Better Leader Tomorrow than you are Today

Whether you are looking at your own leadership style, or that of an employees’, we all need a little facelift sometimes.

Guy Beaudin, Senior Partner at RHR International, gave us some insight to some key leadership characteristics.

As it turns out, leadership isn’t as black and white as some of us are lead to believe, “I think it’s a lot more difficult and complex than most people really think it is”, explains Guy, “[Leadership] requires a broad array of skills: intellectual skills, interpersonal skills, sensitivity to others, awareness of your own limitations.”  Guy emphasizes the need for humility in leaders, “There are so many models of leadership out there that are about being a strong assertive, extroverted individual”, says Guy, “there’s more diversity to the kinds of leaders that can be successful and within that range, humility for me is much more of an important characteristic than I would have previously considered”.

In addition, Guy emphasizes the importance of IQ & EQ.  When asked to pick a single important common characteristics of good leaders, Guy stated: “it’s a little controversial, but if you only have one piece of data to determine someone’s likelihood of success or failure in that role, that person’s cognitive abilities – IQ – is the best single predictor.  I don’t mean intelligence on it’s own is sufficient, but that is an important factor”.  Furthermore, when it came down to singling out one EQ trait, Guy focused on self-awareness.  “EQ is honestly defined in any number of ways, but if I had to think of the key dimensions, I think for me to differentiate between good leaders and great leaders, I would focus on self-awareness”, explains Guy, “[it means] real understanding of how you come across to others and what other people need from you. I think that’s important for them to be able to do their best work”.

When asked what the most common mistake Guy sees leaders make, he talks about evolution and the common phrase “what got you here won’t get you there”.  “Whatever skills you have employed to get your company to this point are probably not the same skills you’re going to need to get to the next level”, explains Guy, “I think with smaller organizations, they tend to miss that inflection point. Once their company has gotten to a certain size, scope or complexity, they are going to have to do things differently to continue to grow that company”.  Guy was then asked his advice for leaders who are looking to continue to grow their company and how they can stay innovative and relevant.  “Stay curious and open to feedback. If you can remain open and flexible, you’ll remain open to innovation and new ideas,” says Guy, “I think the greatest risk is to get cemented and only look at your business and not the world around it”

Guy believes that leadership is mostly contextual, that there’s no preconceived model of what a good leader looks like.  There’s a stereotype that people are either born leaders, or they are not.  Guy strongly disagrees with this notion. “I would say that leadership can be taught, can be learned.  Some people think you’re either a leader or you’re not. I think that’s not true. If you have curiosity, self awareness and humility, I think you can become a better leader tomorrow than you are today.”

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