Adam Bryant, deputy national editor at the New York Times interviewed more than 200 CEOs of top companies for his column, and distilled the leadership qualities that moved them to The Corner Office: Indispensable and Unexpected Lessons from CEOs on How to Lead and Succeed :
- Passionate curiosity, deep engagement with questioning mind and a balance of analytical and creative competencies
- Confidence based on facing adversity, knowing capabilities
- Collaboration, ability to “read” and shape team dynamics
- Ability to translate complex to simple explanations
- Fearlessness in acting on considered risks
These five characteristics augment qualities that might be considered “table stakes” – or “must-haves” for any leadership candidate:
- Navigating organizational obstacles
- Building a team of diverse members by galvanizing with a clear mission and spending time with members
Bryant argues that these behavioral competencies may be developed through attentive effort, but he acknowledges that some people have greater natural predisposition and aptitude for these “ways of being.”
Lois Frankel’s earlier book, Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers provided different recommendations for women seeking leadership roles, later empirically validated in research studies:
- Act like a mature woman rather than a “girl”
- Frame statements as assertions rather than questions
- State and initiate a course of action, rather than waiting to request permission
In contrast, Bryant particularly advises women to “meet as many people as possible and build relationships because serendipity and chance encounters can lead to unplanned opportunities.”
Their continuing research agendas include analyzing the behavioral components of general recommendations such as “demonstrate gravitas” which the majority of top executives affirmed as “… critical for leadership. I can’t define it but I know if when I see it.”
These research organizations seek to more clearly define what these key executives see in critical leadership attributes like “gravitas” and to define them in replicable behavior terms.
-*Which leadership behaviors do you consider most important for any executive?
-*Which behavioral competencies are most crucial for aspiring women leaders?
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