While it’s well known that good leaders are fundamental to a business’s success, new research confirms that genuinely effective leaders possess a core set of critical skills that sets them apart.
Leaders of truly adaptive organisations have a ‘unique set of skills and thought processes,’ according to Dr Fiona Kerr, Systems and Neural Complexity Specialist at the University of Adelaide. Dr Kerr’s research, based on 25 years’ experience, reveals that ‘simply being strong and successful is not an effective basis for leading and shaping an innovative organisation.’
So what are the key skills of an exceptional leader? Here are some of the fundamental traits of highly effective leaders according to Dr Kerr’s research:
1. They communicate genuine values
‘Critical to a good leader is their ability create and guide a flexible organisation by establishing and maintaining a shared understanding amongst colleagues, guided deeply held and clearly stated values,' according to Dr Kerr.
2. They possess exceptional decision-making abilities
Truly adaptive leaders ‘have the ability to make complex decisions’ and ‘combine analysis with intuitive reasoning.’
3. They foster innovation
Exceptional leaders ‘create a low blame / high risk culture. Employees are encouraged to try new things and learn from what did and didn’t work.’
4. They have a high level of personal resilience
Effective leaders ‘have a high level of self-awareness (emotional and stress regulation).’
5. They embrace openness and communication
‘Good leaders strive towards building a trustworthy work environment with a high level of honesty, listening, and the support of information ‘cascading’ through the organisation with minimal controls and blockages.’
6. They change the way people think – for the better
‘Effectively leading an organisation actually changes the way people think and changes their brains – they become better at dealing with complex problems and they grow to be more creative.’