According to a research made by the Corporate Leadership Council, the ten most important leadership characteristics are:
1. Honesty and integrity
2. Clearly communicate expectations
3. Recognize and reward achievement
4. Adapt to changing circumstances
5. Inspire others
6. Put right people in right roles at the right time
7. Passion to succeed
8. Identify and articulate long-term vision
9. Persuade and encourage others to move in the desired direction
10. Accept responsibility for successes and failures
Sounds great and I fully agree they are definitely outstanding characteristics that will make a leader successful. BUT, here is the catch, no one can be perfect in all of those, all the time, with all the people. Read the list again and check out, each of these characteristics can be subject to very wide interpretations. And, if there is big room for interpretation, there is a big room for the same behavior that subject A consider as “honesty and integrity” be considered “too direct and hash” by subject B. Worse: the same behavior can be identified as “honesty and integrity” or “too direct and hash” by the same person, depending on the mood he/she is in the moment or the subject the leader is touching.
What now? Despair? Chaos?
No, business as usual for leaders: adapt constantly to the people. For each person, you have to “learn” leadership again. Maybe even for every moment. Leadership is being 100% present at the moment – which is weird because one of the main characteristics of leaders is to look to the future and articulate the long-term vision. Well, no one said it would be easy :)