You must’ve come across Shakespeare’s quote “Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon ’em”. Think of leadership on similar lines. People who are aware of, and practice these 4 intrinsic strengths are most likely to make their leadership natural & effortless. Research shows that certain intrinsic strengths are especially important in the selection and development of managers, particularly at the top-levels of organizations1. These intrinsic strengths are a part of VIA (Values in Action) character strengths and virtues and are defined as positive personal qualities that indicate virtue and human excellence. Now we see how these intrinsic strengths are understood and give reasons why top-level and middle-level managers need these strengths now, more than ever.
Walk the talk. Integrity or honesty involves accurately representing your thoughts, intentions, and commitments, both publicly and privately. The strength of Integrity is often linked to self-concordance- the extent to which your goals accurately represent your implicit interests and values. Honesty allows people to take responsibility for their feelings and behaviours, owning them, and reaping benefits by doing so. Leaders with integrity are consistent in the face of adversity, show consistency in their words and actions, and are unfailing with who they are and what they stand for2. Integrity makes it easier for others to trust you as a leader.
There are actually three forms of Bravery. The most popular understanding of bravery is physical (the kind that Soldiers, Police or Firefighters are known for). In everyday leadership though, the other two forms of bravery Psychological (facing painful aspects of oneself) and Moral (speaking up for what’s right, even if it’s an unfavourable opinion to the group). Bravery is needed to stand out on your own3.
Perspective is different from intelligence but represents a high level of knowledge, the capacity to give advice and to recognize and weigh all sides before making decisions. It allows the individual to address important questions about conduct and meaning. Top-level executives need the broadest of business perspectives to understand the strengths and weaknesses of their competitors4 and to make decisions that position the organization for long-term success.
Social intelligence involves two general components:
- Social awareness: what we sense about others
- Social facility: what we do with our awareness
Social intelligence is needed everywhere but specially at the top and middle of the organizational hierarchy. Social intelligence is the awareness of your and others’ motives and feelings (you have a sense of what makes you and others tick) and having the agility to adapt your behaviour to what the situation dictates3. Top executives must use their social intelligence to build alliances, manage conflict and negotiate successfully5.
We hope you have gained insight into key strengths that are valued and practiced by successful leaders. In our next blog we will share with you simple tips on building and nurturing these strengths in different situations.
- Sosik & Cameron, 2010
- Palanski & Yammarino, 2007
- Peterson & Seligman, 2004
- Hambrick & Mason, 1984
- Sosik, 2006