Identity clarifies the details.
We cannot become the leaders God created us to be until we have identified what it takes to be a leader in the first place. In her new book, Leading So People Will Follow, Erika Andersen dug deep into the qualities necessary to identify a leader. After extensive research to identify leadership “maps,” Andersen reasoned that what people look for in a leader is actually what people need in a leader. That’s not necessarily that novel, but sadly it’s often overlooked.
Through her studies, Andersen observed that the acknowledged leader is:
- Farsighted – Leaders who are able to acknowledge where we are today, but have the vision to see where we are able to ascend. Farsighted leaders are great at vision casting even when the current situation does not equate to the vision they see in the future.
- Passionate – Passion is not just excitement, it’s a deep commitment to the goals or vision – and it’s relentless. Every action, decision, conversation, and notion is aimed towards accomplishing the vision. Passion is truly manifested when adversity arises and the leader with passion is not dissuaded. Rather than allowing him or herself to be discouraged, they become relentless! The thought of this alone fires me up! Passion is relentless.
- Courageous – Courage is formed in conflict. When the chips are down, the decisions are hard, and leaders are confronted with the lonely truth of leading, doing the right thing and not the popular thing takes courage. The courageous leader does not back down from hard times, but rather leans in and does what is necessary. They don’t make the safe or easy decision – they make the right decision.
- Wise – Wisdom is being aware. Staying in a posture of learning, and not just from those around us but also from our own mistakes. Wisdom is learned and acquired. Wisdom is enhanced by curiosity. Wisdom is implementing the data. Wisdom requires humility, teachability and flexibility. Wisdom is shown when we remain thoughtful, kind, avoid the clutter, and accessible.
- Generous – Generosity is not just about giving, it’s about investing without the concern of ROI. It’s making the people around them better. It’s about being confident enough in people to understand the need of having the best team around them – even at the cost of their own ego. Generosity is being willing to do what’s necessary for the people that matter and the people that don’t impact the end result. It’s about loyalty and caretaking. It’s more than coaching; it wants the absolute best for others regardless of the cost. Generosity is selfless and requires a leader to lead with an open hand.
- Trustworthy – When they say it, you can believe it. You can count on them. They under promise, but over deliver. They avoid exaggeration. When they say it…believe it.
When these characteristics are exemplified in a leader, we know we can follow them – wholeheartedly – in good times and bad, for better or worse.
As artists, we’re always looking for the leader that we can believe in to the core. We understand the cost and we dive in because we know that together the artist and the leader can change the world!