Friday, September 27, 2013

The 2 Most Critical Leadership Traits

According to Cuddy, Kohut and Neffinger in their article "Connect, Then Lead" in HBR July-Aug 2013, two personal characteristics or traits have proved to be most critical in leadership: Strength and Warmth.

One should focus first on warmth before strength, but it is best to combine the 2 characteristics because they can reinforce each other: warmth creates personal strength which helps to be more open and less intimidated, while strength can create the projection of authenticity and warmth.

The 2 traits reminded me of the Managerial Grid of Blake and Mouton, who in their classic behavioral leadership model distinguished between the concern for people and the concern for production, which could and should also be combined (hence the "grid").

Interestingly Cuddy, Kohut and Neffinger mention 3 ways of projecting warmth as a leader:
1. Finding the right level
2. Validate feelings
3. Smile sincerely

... as well 3 ways to project strength for leaders:
1. Feeling confident
2. Standing up straight
3. Have yourself in control.

You can go here to find more detail on what are the most important leadership characteristics.
Sometimes it's amazing how obvious new insights from management science are, don't you think?