Leadership cannot be decreed, it is others who attribute qualities to leaders. In these unpredictable times, this reminder may be useful to those who seek a Holy Grail – the highest political office, the Presidency of the Republic, such as the number one position in a company or other organizations.
Especially since our particularly turbulent times, peppered with crises and ruptures, require a new kind of leaders. Personalities who, of course, impress by their charisma, by their actions and/or – like Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky – by what they live. Visionaries, they are also particularly agile and in contact with the reality of their environment.
At a time when crises are accelerating transformations, being content with pure rationality – or irrationality – and steering solely by results is dangerous. Due to a lack of empathy, intuition and creativity, leaders would risk not knowing how to deal with disruptions. Spotlight on six key attitudes resulting from a new know-how.
#1. Capitalize on your charisma… while it lasts
The leader has every interest in capitalizing on his strong personal resources which reflect on others – his charisma – in order to share with them his vision, to inspire them and arouse in them a taste for innovation and transformation.
Commitment, open-mindedness and analytical qualities but also of the heart (only 27% of business leaders give real importance to the qualities of the heart, according to a recent study by BCG) are crucial to permanently convince management teams. face change. But beware, charisma is fragile: an unfortunate step, a lack of exemplarity or decisions that would not serve the interest of the organization or the country can shake the house of cards.
#2. Demonstrate agility and humility
Other major contingencies to take into account: known, insurable and provisionable risks. But these are constantly bowing to the occurrence of situations of impossible predictability. Companies have never had such a need for talent capable of reacting, on the fly, to multiple changes and reorienting their objectives and priorities in the process.
This is why they now choose leaders who are not very self-centered and capable, in all humility, of succeeding with others. Groups like Michelin, a follower of “liberated” autonomous cells in France, or like the Brazilian insurer Youse, keen on distributed governance, have understood this. “The role of leaders is not to fight this instability but to find strategies to better integrate it, to better live with it,” said Rita McGrath, a professor at the business school of Columbia University in New York, in an exclusive interview with “Echos Leadership & Management”.
#3. Build relationships and build trust
To this end, “41% of CEOs would like to interact more with the teams, but only 27% do so”, points out a DDI survey. However, leadership requires many interactions, including online, with teams, without which the ability to galvanize others diminishes or even disappears.
Otherwise, how could the leader then arouse the commitment of those who follow him and their confidence in such conditions? It is indeed in close exchanges that the leader conveys his key messages and detects talent.
#4. Allow contradiction
Talents that the leader would be wrong to choose from a pool of yes-men (“yesman”, as we say in professional jargon). Privileging such a docile environment, even stressed and frightened, is dangerous; it cuts the leader off from reality and does not allow him to decide under the best conditions.
Not allowing contradiction, without fear of reprisals, is illustrative of a confusion between verticality and authority. However, today, the more the power is solitary, the more it weakens the company, the organization or the country.
#5. Regularly re-evaluate the codes of the collective
The current feminization of governing bodies, under the impetus of the Rixain law, would offer the opportunity to change the modes of leadership. “The entry of women is a real opportunity, it prepares the company for tomorrow and opens up the field of possibilities”, we heard during a conference on the diversity of governing bodies organized last week, by the firm of Alexander Hughes. It will thus be increasingly important to change the internal culture and to regularly re-evaluate the codes of the collective which, to be effective, needs as much introspection as openness.
#6. Watch tomorrow and spread optimism
Even in difficult times, leaders are resolutely looking to the future. This is why it seems difficult to associate the word leader with pessimism, or even backwardness… Moreover, for Gérald Karsenti, Managing Director of SAP France and professor at HEC and ESCP Business School, there is no such thing as a pessimistic leader. . “Optimism is a way of anticipating and getting around the walls. A pessimist only sees the wall. You can’t inspire anyone by being pessimistic.” he said in an interview.
Aware of the richness of the past, the new generation leaders nevertheless know how to preserve what deserves to be. Ambitious and visionary, they embody change and delight in innovation and/or reinvention.