4 Traits of Exceptional Leaders

  • Granularity — Gauging the candidates for leadership positions using the profiles of successful leaders from the past. Those profiles are not meaningful considering the pace of change today and the future needs of the organization.
  • Long-term Focus — Assessment of candidates based on the traits required to reap the fruits of Business Strategy in 5 years’ time is another ground for not identifying the right leaders.
  • Emphasis on finding typical leadership traits — Instead of looking for traits that separate exceptional leaders from the pack, most assessments are geared towards finding typical leadership traits.
  1. Simplification & Operationalization of Complexity
  2. Drive Enterprise-wide Ambition & Change
  3. Strong Teamwork
  4. Leader Building

Simplification & Operationalization of Complexity

  • Interpreting complexities and creating simplified operational descriptions around them for others’ understanding.
  • Developing visions to influence people and rally them around the shared objectives.
  • Developing & implementing actionable plans to achieve objectives.
  • Developing functional and dynamic storylines encompassing the agenda that demonstrates how the company will execute its strategy. These storylines consistently remind the people to concentrate on the things that matter most to the company (e.g. customers, products).
  • Creating and disseminating robust communication plans — highlighting how their company is best suited to face the challenges of disruption — that are consistently analyzed and improved upon.

Drive Enterprise-wide Ambition & Change

  • Make people come out of this tribal or siloed mentality and think collectively in terms of realizing organizational objectives.
  • Understand different mindsets and know how to influence them constructively.
  • Make people realize their contribution towards the bigger, organizational perspective and work towards achieving their business unit targets rather than personal performance objectives.

Strong Teamwork

  • Are aware of the importance of teamwork and collective leadership. They consistently challenge their people to ponder over ways to achieve not only personal but also the strategic organizational objectives.
  • Work with teams to uncover prioritized initiatives critical for organizational growth.
  • Lead their teams and make informed strategic decisions.
  • Focus more on developing a strategy than tactical plans way before they reach the C level.
  • Emphasize to the teams the significance of spending time discussing / developing strategy and devising plans.
  • Focus on maximizing the effectiveness of each individual to benefit the organization.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Mark Bridges

Mark Bridges

I blog about various management frameworks, from Strategic Planning to Digital Transformation to Change Management. https://flevy.com