Employees generally agree that leaders with a passion for excellence, quality and accomplishment benefit their organizations. These qualities place leaders at the top of their fields. No one faults managers who give their all and make sacrifices, but too much of a good thing can also pose problems.
Leaders who lose their mojo rarely have an accurate picture of what’s happening to (or inside) them, so the highest priority is a proper assessment by a trusted colleague, mentor or, optimally, a qualified leadership coach.
All leaders experience drift at some point in their careers. The greatest danger is failing to recognize it and taking steps to reverse it. Prolonging a short stretch of drift can render it irreversible, leading to career and team failures. Fortunately, leaders can take concrete steps to prevent irrevocable consequences.
Business is an active, demanding endeavor. Only those who consistently apply themselves succeed. Organizations that flourish require leaders who actively dream, plan, engage, solve, pursue and network. It’s a lot of work, and there’s no finish line.
Leaders develop and use communication—a soft skill—to work with others, recognizing that success relies on unity and collaboration. When combined with the traditional hard skills of quantitative analysis and decision-making, communication rounds out a leader’s ability to bring people together and achieve high performance.
Leaders continue to assume greater responsibilities and pressures as markets and technologies call for increasingly faster commerce, responses and results. Information overload and business volatility have become the norm, requiring nimble management and staff interconnection. Leadership success depends on a most essential professional skill: strategic communication.
Of all the skills leaders require today, perhaps none is as challenging as adequately processing information. The ability to spot holes in data, conceive solutions and analyze results calls for sharp thinking.
Thinking can be broken down into two primary categories. We employ intuitive thinking during crises, when immediacy is required. By contrast, leaders sift through information, take time to gather data and draw conclusions when employing deliberative thinking.
In this over-information age, an alarming number of business plans fail because leaders ignore the facts needed to make sound decisions. Misguided perspectives can be blamed on a lack of data, wrong data or the inability to understand relevance. Even in hindsight, some leaders fail to see what went wrong.
Problem-solving leaders shouldn’t be expected to forsake their analytical skills or interests, but they can certainly use them in more helpful ways. All organizations have problems, requiring people with keen eyes and minds to solve them.