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What Leaders are made of – 1of 4

03 April 2015




After giving some lectures on this subject, in this short series of posts I would like to share some thoughts on leadership, a theme always present and that will never be examined sufficiently.

When we talk about it, the word itself is evoking in many a certain sense of unease, as something never fully understood, and in which you feel a deep sense of inadequacy.

Invariably, in fact, when it comes to Leaders with a capital L, a number of examples of those so-called charismatic leaders is flocking to mind.

It is therefore likely that my reader believes that leadership is an Art, something necessarily innate and can not be learned.

With due respect and even admiration for the above Leaders, my thesis is that leadership is rather, and perhaps especially, a Science, i.e., a set of qualities and skills that can be learned and practiced.

I intend to structure my thoughts around the following chapters:

Leadership =


1.       What Leaders are made of +

2.       Adaptive Leadership +

3.       The Dilemma & the Style +

4.       Improvement Paths


What should then the ideal leader do?  He/she is called to teach, to be successful, lead, serve, learn, be creative, inspire, act as a coach ... in short, a superman or superwoman.

The literature is listing multiple types of leadership: the De facto, Of service, Results based, Situational, Charismatic, Transformational, Transactional, etc.

Among these, today is very fashionable the so-called "connected", especially in flat organizations vs the traditional hierarchical ones.  According to an interview with Mr. Andrea Vitullo, author of "Reflexive Leaderships", in the Web 2.0 era, the keywords are "participation" and "community" and people are at the center.  The leader should be able to ask himself/herself new questions and challenge preconceived ideas.  We are moving towards a distributed leadership, "connected", where every person feels is responsible and the "engine" behind what he/she actually does.

We may begin with the famous sentence of one of the most famous and broadly recognized leaders, Jack Welch, the well-known CEO of General Electric for more than a decade:  «Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself.  When you become a leader, success is all about growing others».

For a good leader, it is therefore essential the ability to get the best out of his/her team, by identifying their uniqueness and finding ways to put it into play.

Furthermore, it's important the ability to touch the right levers to motivate each team member.

Finally, building a real team, by integrating each team member's uniqueness in a cooperating teamwork towards a common goal.

Obviously, this work can be done only if one is accepting to start first of all by changing him/herself.

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