Cultivate the Five Attributes of Effective Leaders (Part 2)

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This is the second part of a blog summarizing a presentation made at’s Conference on “Developing Organizational Leadership Capabilities. Last week, we focused on the challenges leaders face. Today we focus on the attributes leaders need to address them.


To be effective, NextGen leaders need to cultivate these five attributes:

  • Authenticity – Leaders inspire the team to pursue the vision and mission by demonstrating integrity, trust and courage. They need to show personal commitment to the leadership theme they currently are championing for the organization, e.g., customer centric, talent management, design elegance, globalization, etc. Think of the authentic leader presence of Steve Jobs and OprahWinfrey.
  • Articulation – Always be communicating. In an increasingly complex world, the need to address key facts and emotions, content and style, becomes most important. Given differences in people’s communication styles (e.g., Neuro Linquistic Programming and Myers-Briggs) as well as impact differences by media (e.g., email, face-to-face and Twitter), leaders must articulate clearly and frequently what the audience needs to build trust and spur action.
  • Alignment – The leader sets the example by creating and demonstrating a strong culture that aligns people to key value, behaviors and strategic priorities. The importance of this attribute increases the more diverse and distributed the global workforce.
  • Accountability “What gets measured gets done.” Demonstrate the standards to which you’re accountable and the processes used to meet them. Empower others to hold themselves and their co-workers accountable by adopting appropriate systems (e.g., Execute To Win and Vistage Inside), and celebrate the accomplishments!
  • Agility – With shifting priorities based on changing conditions affecting supply, production, distribution, investments, etc., leaders need to have the courage to face the new realities and take new actions. As Kenneth Chenault, CEO of American Express notes “in a crisis you can’t manage by a manual; you have to manage by values and beliefs.”

Develop Your NextGen Leaders.

Identify your NextGen Leaders early, and fast-track them. Engage them in “deliberate practice” through LD programs (e.g., Vistage Inside). Cultivate their decision-making capabilities and ability to tackle the challenges of complexity. Remember, first you must cultivate these attributes for yourself!

Share with us what you’re experiencing as challenges and how you’re developing your NextGen leaders.