The Face of Modern Leadership | Portraits depicting the diversity of today's leaders

The Face of Modern Leadership

Kurt Wilkin

When we think about leadership or hear the word “leader,” many of us picture a confident and charismatic executive who is full of ambition, laser-focused on achieving their goals and has a team of faithful followers behind them.

But my dear friend Suzi Sosa, Co-Founder of Verb, has a different idea of what a leader looks like. In her recent guest blog for Modernist Studio, Training Leaders: Rewiring Old Habits, Suzi describes a leader as someone who is self-aware, mindful, shows compassion for the people around them, and always tries to do the right thing. At Verb, Suzi’s learning and development platform “focuses on the whole person development for the whole team,” which is exactly how they propose leaders should be. And I agree.

There are three key convictions that drive these expectations of leadership:

There is a leader in each one of us.

Look for leaders throughout your organization, not just the folks at the top. By investing in leadership training for employees earlier in their career, you can develop a culture of leadership that will benefit your company’s culture and bottom line performance. And your team’s future selves will thank you. As Suzi says“ the most significant determinants of the wealth and impact a person has in their professional lifetime is their leadership capability. Those who can lead effectively have both much greater earning potential, and much greater influence in the world.”

Leadership training must be transformational.

Evolved leadership training is paramount – it’s the key to unlocking leadership potential. Leadership is a mastery of a certain skill set, but knowing how to execute this in a given situation is what separates a leader from the herd. Suzi puts a heavy emphasis on creating daily habits that ultimately makes one a better leader. We’re all creatures of habit and success depends on how well we can discipline ourselves. Becoming a great leader requires a conscious, continuous effort to improve.

Soft skills are critical leadership skills.

There is a vast emerging realization that soft skills are just as important as, if not more important than, technical skills when it comes to leadership in business. Traditional leadership skills that are taught in typical management training programs include things like prioritization, delegation, and negotiation. But the soft skills are the ones I think about in leaders I admire. Skills like being calm, cool and collected or decisive, yet open-minded. I like the way Suzi described these traditional skills as “doing” versus “ways of being.”

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