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Being a ‘Strong and Successful’ Leader is Not Enough, Research Reveals

Being a ‘Strong and Successful’ Leader is Not Enough, Research Reveals

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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.’

Many capable managers can benefit from developing individual skills to enhance their existing skillset. Talk to us if you feel you or your management team can gain from building the skills demanded of a truly effective leader.