Ever wonder why some people just seemed like natural born leaders? They seem to just rise to the occasion every time. Whether it’s real life or something out of a movie, in every group there are one or two people that seem to rise to the top. They’re fitted for a leadership role and they excel in it. So what makes them different?
Eric Markowitz in his Inc. Magazine article entitled, “Inside the Brain of a Leader,” argues that it’s neurological. Based on studies at Arizona State University, it turns out that “brains of effective leaders exhibit similar electrical patterns…[with] high levels of coherence in the right frontal part of their brain, which is responsible for interpersonal communication and social relationships.” In addition to enhanced communication skills, leaders also think different about giving.
It wouldn’t quite make sense for a leader to excel in communication but not back it up with action. This is where giving comes in. Leigh Buchanan in a piece on “Why the Most Successful Leaders Are Givers,” interviews Adam Grant, a professor at Wharton. The result of that conversation yields that a key idea that generosity among leaders should be delegated through a “network of givers.” The piece touches on Markowitz’s idea on communication, recommending that burst of giving even in the forms of intimate 15 minute one-on-one conversations can have long last benefits in how a leader is perceived. Citing Team of Rivals, the book that lent itself as the basis for the blockbuster movie Lincoln, Grant suggests leaders take on Lincoln’s philosophy that questions where a leader can have the greatest impact. If that means you stop looking at the big picture to spend a portion of your time catering to one-on-one situations, then that’s what you do.
Most interestingly though is the Business Insider profile on the art of being unreasonable. Despite best efforts to be generous with our time, there are times that entrepreneurs need to stand out. This is where the afore mentioned neuro wiring for communication will come in handy. The post, entitled “The Art of Being Unreasonable Offers Superb Leadership Lessons,” offers the following advice: in difficult situations a leader has to rise to the challenge by knowing how to stand out instead of acting out.
Thought Leadership: The Art of Standing Out
Any budding successful leader needs to treat thought leadership as a religion. Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur interested in pivotal leadership roles or whether you’re already there – you need to be in the now about the next evolution in business, thoughts. How we think about business has completely changed course in the last ten years. Technological advancements, changing social climate and economic shifts have all lent a hand in this transformation.
The first step in getting to that level is to start paying attention. Start understanding people’s needs, and anticipating what they’ll need next. This is an across the board attitude. For example, if you’re in technology, don’t just look at what tech developments are in store. You should also start studying how family and social patterns are changing. How are people using it tech? What are their next steps that might shed light on migrating patterns from option A to option B. Essentially, you have to start reading between the lines. Once you get the hang of this, move to step two: creating thought leadership.
In a Harvard Business Review blog post, H. James Wilson lays out a blueprint for producing ideas that change how we think and work. He lays out a 4 point plan: (1) tune your idea to the spirit/thinking of the time, (2) select an apt objective that’s synchronized with the first point, (3) link new and old by opting to go a route that you already have demonstrated some history in addressing, and (4) publishing early in an idea’s lifecycle. The idea is to stay ahead of the curve.