Business success is highly dependent on leadership strength  

I recently met with a group of entrepreneurs and asked: What are the 5-10 traits that reflect leadership strength? Some examples will sound familiar to you:

  • setting and effectively communicating a strategic vision
  • navigating complexity
  • composure during difficult situations
  • high EQ
  • empathy
  • trustworthy
  • integrity
  • accountability

They learned from one another and understood why certain traits rose to the top for some entrepreneurs and the experiences that led to them creating their list. 

4 questions to gauge leadership strength

Next, I had them narrow down the list to five traits every leader needs to possess, demonstrate and have strength in. They could only choose five. 

Then I asked them to rate themselves. How strong were they on each of these traits? With me, there is always a scale/range in which to rank ourselves in terms of development.

They were instructed to rate themselves on a scale from 1-5, 5 being the strongest. To the surprise of no one in the room, none of the entrepreneurs ranked themselves a 5 on all 5 of the traits they had selected.

Everyone had room for growth and further development of leadership strength. The goal isn’t for each person in the room to work on each one of the traits they weren’t as strong in and get it up to a 5. Instead, the exercise is meant to gain awareness. 

  • Where were their strengths? 
  • How do those show up in their behaviors and who they are? 
  • What were their areas for development? 
  • Of the areas they could develop, what might be one area they could focus on now that would serve their leadership and people the most right now? 

Ask your employees to rank leaders

Of course, another next step could be to ask the employees how they would rank the leaders on those five traits to get an even deeper picture of their leadership strength (instead of an assessment or stakeholder interview). 

But we will save that activity for another time. 

Context changes. People Change. Situations Change.

We could do this work again in 6 months, and there may be a different answer. But, for now, they have one area that they will reflect on and see what shifts they want to make in that area that will positively impact them, their employees, and their organization.