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Leaders should pay more attention to several extra features according to one keynote speaker

10th March 2011
By Torri Myler in Business Law
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It might be difficult to articulate a precise definition of what business leadership is, but when you ask pundits to come up with a list of desirable features every great leader exhibits, they usually have no problem to produce a couple. For example, they may highlight the capability to motivate subordinates and stakeholders to take specific actions that are desirable from a leader's point of view. Another must-have is the ability to detect and formulate goals, both short-term and long-term, in a way that others are ready to subscribe to and in a way that lead to a rise in a company's well-being. One more quality that gets mentioned a lot has to do with communicative skills and how easily leaders can convey messages to people lower down the structure and outside the company structure. This is the backbone of every successful business leader, one might argue, but it has to be extended with additional features, argues a HRB blogger and a business professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter.

These features and abilities might not constitute a leader's core competence set, but they greatly contribute to enhancing success prospects of every executive. Most are very useful, if a bit overlooked / forgotten.

How about something that the HBR author names colleagueship? It denotes the ability and willingness of leaders to step outside their normal roles and restraints in an effort to add value or lend a helping hand to subordinates. In practice, these are all these friendly acts that might be small in nature, but are noticed by the workforce and can greatly energize it. For example, when the boss (a leader) turns up at a meeting or even he or she does not have to be present at, just to give their team confidence or support, this breeds positive response from the staff.

Next, there is the ability to connect with others that takes on a special significance in today's networked organizations. Leaders need not rely on isolation or looking down on others in the company from ivory towers. They need to be the ones who open doors and are a force for integration.

Being able to bring in and manipulate extra resources, especially in such a way that they provide an extra incentive is another addition worth chipping in. Leadership training should include practice and the help of motivational speakers in such campaigns of motivation generation for future execs as they do a lot to help people walk the extra mile.

Also, leaders have to exhibit the ability to frame issues in companies. This means defining the terms that are used to describe and respond to situations, including both conflicts and future opportunities.

An interesting point that Moss Kanter made was about what she called external diplomacy. Great leaders should be active outside the company, in industry forums, associations or alliances, spreading the message further and extending the reach of their leadership. Whatever they bring in from such escapades is likely to enhance their organizations, this prolific business professor and keynote speaker concluded.
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