Do you believe that a person who has ‘led’ can always ‘lead’ in the same way? Is leadership timeless? Does a leader’s role change with changing times? Such questions and more were discussed in a McKinsey Quarterly Report.
As per the report, leaders have an agenda to drive and one that drives them. At any point, the agenda that is driven depends upon the organization’s need at the time. But the agenda that drives the leader has a timeless dimension to it.
This means that understanding of one’s own character and personality is an integral part of timeless leadership. Certain traits like integrity, courage, compassion and empathy are immutable. These traits form the essence of leadership. Can you imagine a leader who cannot keep promises or stand for what is right? Will you follow a leader who fears failure? Can the workplace be any better if leaders failed to engage, motivate and inspire employees?
Leadership is not as much about the role or the position as it’s about steering the organization through ups and downs, learning new lessons, and inspiring people along the way. But this is possible only if leaders can maintain the essence of their leadership qualities through self-awareness.
But according to the McKinsey Report, people who have been leading for too long somehow lose this essence. The seniority or power tends to corrupt them. As such, they become arrogant, don’t listen to others, and stop questioning themselves. Humility is one of the traits that’s most difficult for leaders to keep.
Without humility, it’s impossible to seek continuous self-improvement. To a large extent, successful leadership is about having a learning and growth mindset. Resilience comes from learning through failures and a lot of leadership attributes come through learning and practice.
MYB believes that leadership qualities are linked to individuals and not organizations. But individuals evolve with time and can either progress or regress depending on a learning or fixed mindset. So, it’s the quality of mind that has a perpetual nature and that’s your ‘constant’. You need to find it and keep it!