The Three Essential Attributes of a Leader: The Demonstrated Abilities

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Leaders need to:

1. Have a vision to which they are committed

Leaders arrive with a vision: a deeply thought out view of what to do to make a difference in the complex, competitive world of today.

The qualities of their commitment and their vision set them apart.

They may not know all the steps to deliver their vision but they know what it will look like when they arrive, and, they are committed to that point and beyond. This level of commitment to a vision, that no one else may share, is either craziness or powerful beyond measure. Time is often the factor that enables us to differentiate.

Galileo and Copernicus were socially ostracized, persecuted and one of them executed for their interpretation of their observations (vision) that the earth revolved around the sun. Facing death for your vision is quite a commitment!

Mother Teresa felt moved to go to the slums of India and represent the needs of 'her people'. She was not averse to taking advantage of the invitations of powerful leaders, to ask for help.

The engineers who conceive of huge projects have it. Often the technologies to deliver the results are not available yet. The huge new airbus with two layers of 747 sized seating, if built with current technologies would weigh twice as much per passenger, creating fuel costs that would be non-commercial.

To find the technologies to make it weigh less per passenger, when we may not know what they are, then make them safe, cost them and deliver requires an amazing commitment to the vision with the financiers breathing down your neck!

What vision do you have? What is the contribution you wish to make in the world?

What level of commitment do you have to your vision? These people showed us what it is about. It is at a level that we are willing to discard our illusions about ourselves, our personality and find out what is real in us. Not by standing on the sidelines and planning it, but by doing it and making it work! Many of us work at this level each day but justify it in other ways and lose the generic insight to be gained.

2. Have the ability to communicate the vision to others.

We need to be able to communicate our vision to others so that they can bring their expertise to enable the delivery of it!

This has two parts. They want to see our level of commitment and excitement about it - to know we are really in this. This is not difficult, not many leaders stumble here.

Secondly, they want to understand the incremental edge or quantum leap it will provide in the market place so that they can understand which part they might 'own' and why their expertise is needed in the delivery.

To have a vision, understand the current market place, and understand what to break, to do something different is great. To communicate what this means to others, such that they begin to share your excitement is rarer.

It requires us to know what assumptions are made by most people, see beyond this to another truth and take advantage of that niche.

Toy'r'us was one of the first category breakers. Mum's and Dad's toy stores folded as they could not compete against the Toy'r'us offering, the prices and the buzz within the store.

The internet provided massive opportunities to change the face of many businesses. The need to have a shop front for a real estate business in a busy area, has now been superceded by a virtual tour, or simple presentation of the property on the web.

Richard Branson's debonair nose-thumbing of conventional models of corporate control and the success of his businesses have opened our eyes to some of our assumptions.

Can you see your assumptions about the corporate model? Can you see the assumptions of others? Can you communicate the difference that others can join you in your understanding? (a tool of deep appreciation of individual motive is useful here: the Enneagram provides much insight.)

3. Attract others to join and follow with them

A leader with a vision and a level of commitment is great, that they can communicate what they have is wonderful. Now what the high potential people, who can transform this spark into reality, are saying is, "Great commitment and great idea but not for me... or not now.'

What the leader needs are key people to join them - the vision will take a very long time to deliver, or it will arrive in a very small package without this.

Magnetism is the word for this powerful, yet subtle energy. The ability to magnetize themselves such that others are subtly attracted to them, the vision and the transformational process such that they want to join in.

To be magnetic, is to turn heads when you walk into a room. People aren't sure why but they are interested in some subtle energy you command.

Without this, the communication looses it power and does not gain the support of the levels of expertise it requires to be delivered.

McDonalds is a wonderful business based on young people running a well thought out structure. Yet the expertise to run a real estate business, based on hamburger profits, with a great system required much expertise to be attracted and retained.

Most companies have high potential staff identified, and being developed. Many are beginning to understand the complexity of retaining them. These high potentials often have the communication skills and the magnetism, they are just seeking the passionate project to join and commit to. If it isn't provided by their current role, in their time frame, they move on in their quest for it.

To be a leader requires some serious and non-linear development to enable these qualities within you to be identified, developed, polished and delivered.

With these three attributes, we have the fire of commitment, the command of ourselves, and the tools to enroll significant talent to deliver. Our leadership has the wings to deliver results.

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Rosemary Johnston is a professional corporate and personal coach. Working with executives from some of Australia's largest and most successful companies for over 15 years.

Rosemary's new book, "How To Develop Your Leadership Style and Skills to Take Charge of Your Career and Life" is now available to download at her web site. Read about how you can share some of the success Rosemary has had coaching leaders in Australian blue chip companies.

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