Confidence: The basis for building modern leadership
When examining leadership at organizations, I would like to adopt a perspective that veers toward the bigger picture rather than focusing on this pandemic situation. However, I believe it necessary to start by mentioning the reality we face, about which there is consensus: Constant changes worldwide and unpredictable and challenging scenarios. Of course, this reality is also being felt in the business ecosystem; it is a reality that many companies dealt with quickly, while others took longer to organize, acclimatize, and/or reinvent themselves.
But… which ones responded best? They were the ones that already had some theoretical or practical experience, as well as leaders with more skill or flexibility in terms of adaptation. It should also be acknowledged that the leadership required by the crisis, considered to be “aspirational leadership,” was already being considered at many organizations well before the pandemic began. They already had leaders committed to relationships, who make inclusion a tangible reality, and others were heading down that path. However, it was merely a nascent trend.
Even today, many companies maintain vertical structures. However, generally speaking, more and more are adopting collaborative models with greater horizontality. These companies will simply attempt to accelerate more inclusion and integration, further energize the space for creativity and innovation, and focus on the future. For the least advanced, it will be an opportunity to embrace the moment, to decide and act swiftly by proposing the creation of diverse teams and fostering an environment that encourages creativity. Collective intelligence, different approaches, and ideas that challenge and propose novelty by driving change.
The context and commitment to diversity is making room for these so-called “new leaders” to appear. They are emerging and becoming essential in the current situation and near future. They might be people already responsible for inclusive teams and have the skills required, or people who will have a responsibility to consciously develop them.
If I were pressed to list those skills, I would have to base it on my own personal experience. I worked, developed myself, and grew professionally at DuPont, a large company and a management school. I lived through enormous transformations, unique corporate experiences, procurements, joint ventures, dissolutions, business sales and transfers, and closures, leading up to the incredible merger with the competition to create three specialized leading companies. A journey with such challenging milestones forced me to adapt and accompany others by navigating and leading the radical changes needed by committed organizations, working at times when there was significant uncertainty about the next steps.
Can you imagine working at a company that is now your company plus the competitor you had been fighting over business with until yesterday? It sounds strange. But thanks to my experience at the DuPont school, I was able to emerge stronger and more enriched. I was able to manage and lead those reinventions in times of uncertainty, when it is essential to count on large, varied teams in which all voices provided they are heard and considered when approaching change – can contribute and lead to success.
Technical skills and, without a doubt, clearly evident interpersonal skills become a “must.” I am convinced of that and of what one must do, and, without wishing to boast, I recognize that I also did my part well. During my career, I noticed that certain skills (the so-called “soft skills” more generally associated with women) were becoming more important. I decided to study, to learn in order to give more of myself, as well as to help others by stimulating certain dormant -– repressed –- characteristics, or simply characteristics that needed to be developed.
A while after my study of statistics, I completed an MBA and then became a certified Ontology Coach. Building self-awareness is enormously helpful in identifying innate and potential skills. Self-managing teams are developed and created through team building and the much sought-after element of engagement. This ongoing learning experience has helped me greatly in my management, which is why I invite all of you to take some time out of your day to review your professional careers, as often as necessary.
This ongoing learning experience has helped me greatly in my
management, which is why I invite all of you to take some time out of your day to review your
professional careers, as often as necessary.
The development of new leaders who achieve a shared purpose is captivating. Today, they generate commitment, inspiration, and motivation in a highly disruptive environment and with the emerging challenge of digitality, Artificial Intelligence, big data, and automation. They are very flexible people, open to radical changes in which different models and even highly dissimilar corporate cultures coexist.
The basis on which they build or strengthen their leadership is confidence. A frank and respectful environment in which this sentiment strongly stimulates commitment and hard work. That is how the teleworking model works correctly, for example; setting targets is fundamental, but ongoing confidence continues to play a key role. Work needs to be done on that skill, and it needs to be recognized as a competitive advantage.
Although it might seem a little irrational, including the capacity to intuit, anticipate, and foresee events is also extremely important. It is key to visualize where trends are heading in order to take on probable, and complex, scenarios. This “formula” also includes a spirit of self-criticism; recognition of one’s own limitations and vulnerabilities; an openness to new opposition, suggestions, and opinions that are allowed to be nourished; and, essentially, communication.
If leadership is, as I read, a way to mobilize various resources in pursuit of a common goal, the spirit that puts that mobilization into play is its raison d’être, based on non-negotiable corporate values, a consensus to take all voices into account, intuition, and the possibility of recalculating. A mobilizer who takes risks in managements reflects of confidence, speaking of doing business in our time. It is a fundamental skill that characterizes a leader and leads to the goal.
A mobilizer who takes risks in managements reflects of confidence, speaking of
doing business in our time. It is a fundamental skill that characterizes a leader and leads to the