I was in the Apple Store today. I had a scheduled meeting with a Genius (an Apple tech support guru) at 2:00. You’d never know we were in a recession by the number of people in the store at 2:00 in the afternoon on a Tuesday. Anyway, the Genius who was helping me with my iPhone had a shirt on that said “Not all heroes wear capes.”
In my two previous posts, I mentioned that leadership often requires the ability to balance sometimes opposing characteristics. In Part 1, I touched on the balance of Courage with Humility. In Part 2, I talked about the balance of Strength and Vulnerability.
The third set of characteristics that I believe is required of a successful leader is the balance of being Demanding with being Empathetic.
I think one of the most important characteristics of successful leaders and people – regardless of their role – is that they embrace change.
It’s not good enough to just be comfortable with change. It’s not good enough to just recognize that change happens. That breeds complacency and comfort.
People who embrace change thrive on uncertainty. They do not need every detail to make decisions. You rarely hear them say, “as soon as (FILL IN THE BLANK) happens, I am going to (BE HAPPY, DO THIS, ACHIEVE THAT, FILL IN THE BLANK) .
As I look at the business landscape today, I believe two types of companies are emerging – (1) those that choose to cut costs at all cost, and (2) those that recognize that people got us to where we are today and people will get us out of where we are today.
I had just returned to my hotel room after a beautiful sunrise run in Washington D.C. where I am attending an Inscape Publishing conference. While enjoying a cup of post-run coffee, I read an article about a former NASA official (he served as the NASA Chief of Staff and as its liaison to the White House) who was “charged with using his government position to serve his own financial interest.” If convicted, he could face 15 years in prison.
That’s not leadership!