Traits of leadership.

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Wander

Settler
Jan 6, 2017
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I mention this as a bit of a joke, but also quite seriously.
Many years ago a colleague of mine applied for a new job, in a managerial role.
His current manager was a decent and supportive individual and my colleague knew he could speak to him about it and get some advice.
His manager said to him, 'the best advice I can give you will stand you in good stead for any aspect of life, not just as a manager. It's this: don't act like a cad.'*
Let's be honest, that's probably the most important aspect of anyone in a leadership role - that indefinable something that just means you get on with people. We can probably all think of friends of whom you would say, 'he's a great bloke, but he can act like a right cad every now and then.'
Not acting like a cad (ahem) every now and then is a good leader trait.

*'Cad' wasn't the actual word used, but it did start with 'c' and was just one syllable.
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
5,226
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May I ask in what context you met these people you consider are True leaders?

Not that easy to answer TBH as I think circumstances bring out leadership and I've never been on 'a sinking ship'.

However, I had one rugby team captain that was a long way towards being a true leader in my eyes. No one doubted his ability to make the right decision at the right moment and he could even rally us when we were many points down.

I don't think I met a single 'leader' in the armed forces although, on reflection, one SM came close. Oh, I lie, one x-SAS guy I spent time with was pretty damned close to being a true leader - very humble, very knowledgeable, quick thinking and decisive, and could talk anybody into entering a blazing house but would be the first through the door.

I've met a number of 'inspirational' business men/women but none of them were 'leaders'.

Perhaps the closest otherwise is one of my aunts (now 95). She is the eldest of four sisters, my mother being the second, and in any family gathering it was her that made the decisions and got things done. I never saw her angry but she could give you a good tongue lashing if you didn't jump to at the right moment :) She is never bitter, always even handed, decisive but prepared to listen and, at the same time, has the confidence and courage to be critical when it's needed. And the highest she climbed the career ladder - manager of a local small Co-op store; she could run the country :)
 
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TeeDee

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Nov 6, 2008
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So what is everyones take on the notion that there are more traits of psychopathy in high level managers & leaders than found elsewhere in society.

Numerous such scientific papers seem to exist to support this ( doesn't mean I do or don't buy into it ) so any link provided is just a random one.

 

billycoen

Forager
Jan 26, 2021
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I can only speak of what i've seen in the workplace,men and women were put in various team leader,supervisor rolls without the skills needed for that role,they were then sent on managerial courses,in the hope that they would justify higher managements decision.I't didn't always end well,but no one died,so, hey ho.
 
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Billy-o

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Apr 19, 2018
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So what is everyones take on the notion that there are more traits of psychopathy in high level managers & leaders than found elsewhere in society.
I think it is important not to confuse the male greed and throat-slicing competitiveness that some use to succeed in executive positions in big business with the capacity to perceive a situation, recognize several different perspectives, empathise, work out what is best for all and then get others to help make that to happen.
 

TeeDee

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I've wondered for a while if in the corporate world if its more a game of office politics involving nepotism and sycophantic tactics that ends up getting people promoted and placed on Managerial leadership courses. Kind of ironic.

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Billy-o

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I have definitely worked in some institutions where the local culture has been to promote biddable and slightly vain/insecure people precisely because they don't have a view on how to do their jobs properly and can be 'handled'.
 
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Erbswurst

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 5, 2018
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I am unsure if it is simply genetic or if charismatic leaders got a special education. Perhaps it is both together.

Most real leaders that I did meet were related with people that you can find in the history books. Not all, but most.
 

Fadcode

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Feb 13, 2016
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The problem with Leaders or Leadership, is that no matter how good or educated the Leaders are, they very rarely please everyone.
We have always been led to believe that Leaders should be well educated, and if we look at some of our previous MP's and PM,s a large majority being educated at Eton and Cambridge/Oxford we can see that this is not always true.
We can also disprove the hereditary quality of Leadership, you can see this by the number of stately homes and estates now in the hands of the National Trust, if we look back at the great men and women in our history, very few were in fact leaders, some were reformers, inventors adventurers, but very few were what could be described as leaders, if we look further, the past Leaders in our History, have not faired too well, losing battles, Countries, etc. Obviously there have been heroes, Leaders who have done the right thing , had the right people, and came out victorious.

Good and competent Leaders need qualities, that make followers feel wanted, important and competent, and obviously have an aim that is achievable, for the rest and for the weak leaders they invented, Democracy.
 

TeeDee

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When I was a section commander in the army I would never have asked or expected anyone to do anything that I wouldn't do myself...lead by example.

Sent from my SM-G996B using Tapatalk

So a pre-req for good leadership is the willingness and ability to DO rather than just ORDER.


What else makes good Leaders?
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter through and through
Jul 14, 2008
5,218
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Lancashire
Ok , so the skillset of Leadership in one field doesn't translate automatically to the other.

So name examples of Leadership in one of those fields and tell me why you think it was a good example.
So military leaders shouldn't be any good as civilian leaders once out of uniform? So why do they turn up at high levels in civilian organisations and make good civilian leaders too?

I think it's a confusion between what a good leader is and what the leadership is doing. Not well expressed but I mean is the actions of a military leader and a civilian leader are totally different but the "soft", transferable skills are often in both.

I've not had much contact with military I must admit but there's a fair few military leaders (officers) of merit in parliament in both main parties as well. The one I'm thinking of lost his seat in 2019 (Stewart iirc). He was a softly spoken and very considered person imho. His army career wasn't a failure I think and his post army career involved leadership responsibilities for a department of government, probability in charge of more people than in the army. Army learnt skills of leadership with personal leadership skills I think helped. It's not the army taught skills imho that made him a good leader. Which is why I think leadership qualities aren't different just the skills learnt.
 

TeeDee

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So military leaders shouldn't be any good as civilian leaders once out of uniform? So why do they turn up at high levels in civilian organisations and make good civilian leaders too?
I'm more paraphrasing the person before me ( whoever that was )

I think there are exceptions to most things but equally skillsets don't automatically translate from one skill tree to another.
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter through and through
Jul 14, 2008
5,218
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I'm more paraphrasing the person before me ( whoever that was )

I think there are exceptions to most things but equally skillsets don't automatically translate from one skill tree to another.
I know but I included your reply because it made a point I agreed with.

I think there needs to a separation between skills for the job or sector the leader is in and the skills for leadership. You can have good leadership skills but be useless in a leadership role because you can't do the other parts of the job. You might be a great leader but if you turn to jelly when you hear gunfire you're not going to be a good army leader. Similarly you can go from leading men in the army but useless leading people in manufacturing because you can't identify the engineering issue or process flow issue.

Skillsets for a job isn't the same as skillsets for leadership. One is hard skills the other soft skills.
 
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C_Claycomb

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Oct 6, 2003
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Reading some of the posts here I am not sure whether everyone is differentiating between people who are in leadership roles (elected to, climbed and maneuverer into, or dumped into by others) , and people who are leaders (have the personal skills and qualities of leadership, as have been described here).

Then there is how perfect someone must be before the person describing them considers them to be a "Leader". @Broch has a very high standard for a "Leader". Maybe the only people that could live up to that are Branson, Jobs, Musk, Mandela, and people of that ilk. Maybe not even them? Personally my threshold for thinking someone a decent leader is lower.

As for whether sociopathy plays a part in people rising within business organisations, I think there is plenty of evidence that it does. I have seen this discussed elsewhere and I have seen a couple of examples in previous companies. In one case the person rose very fast and was generally described as a nasty piece of work. What I am not so sure of is whether treating people like things with less regard to feelings or welfare allows behaviour that "business" approves of, or whether the lack of empathy mitigates the stress of responsibility and allows these people to stay in the job when more caring people drop out.
 
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Van-Wild

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Feb 17, 2018
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L=Listen (to every team member)
E=Encourage (innovation, questions, risk taking)
A=Adapt (to situations, people, environment)
D=Decisive (make those decisions, including the hard ones)
E=Evolve (always seek a better way)
R=Reinforce (success, learn from error)

Reward in public, Discipline in private.

See everyone as an Enabler, never as a Disabler.

Put your ego in check.

Admit when you're wrong.

Take risks.

Be a mentor not a teacher.

Accept responsibility for mistakes. That includes the mistakes of your team.

Sent from my SM-G970F using Tapatalk
 
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Wander

Settler
Jan 6, 2017
761
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Here There & Everywhere
L=Listen (to every team member)
E=Encourage (innovation, questions, risk taking)
A=Adapt (to situations, people, environment)
D=Decisive (make those decisions, including the hard ones)
E=Evolve (always seek a better way)
R=Reinforce (success, learn from error)

God, that looks like the worst kind of Leadership Management training soundbite I've ever seen.
I would feel morally obliged to oppose anyone who came out with that kind of trite nonsense.
Even just looking at it now I have my fist rammed in my mouth and my toes are curling.
Definitely the David Brent school of leadership.
Sheesh.
 
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