This week, I’d like to share some great articles on leadership and management. As I am transitioning into my new position as Vice President of Marketing and Communications with my volunteer organization this month, I have been reading and studying leadership best practices.
I’ve also been thinking back to great leaders I’ve worked with and comparing them with not so great leaders to really help me define what kind of VP I want to be. INC.com’s Jeff Haden compiled a list of the top 50 leadership and management experts. This list is excellent because it lets me know the thought-leaders in the field I should be reading up on and following on social media. Some of my favorites made the list (Nancy Duarte, Sheryl Sandberg, Susan Cain, Malcolm Gladwell, Seth Godin, Dan Pink, Simon Sinek, John Maxwell), and I was also introduced to so many new people. It does disappoint me to see so few women on the list; however, many of the women I would have added are professors. Haden’s list was compiled to find “globally the most popular management and leadership writers in the English language. In other words, we did not focus on local countries or languages; we did not focus on teachers, professors, or CEOs; and we did not measure any other topics besides management and leadership” (Source).
Since Haden’s article focused on the English language and American culture, “How To Lead Well Across Cultures” from Forbes was important for me to check out. Power distance was the central focus. Power distance was defined for the purposes of the article as “the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations accept and expect that power is distributed equally” (Source). That got me thinking about the kinds of meetings I want to lead as VP of Marketing and Communications. I want to facilitate round-table meetings where we all brainstorm, think, and talk through issues together. Sharing the power requires confidence in yourself and your team, and this can be a difficult task. I think back to all of the leaders I’ve worked with in the past both at work, at school, and at my volunteer “jobs.” In my experience, my favorite leaders have emphasized collaboration and an open, honest space to share ideas.
In “Great Leadership: 7 Traits Of True Leadership,” Leigh Buchanan explains what I love collaborative, team-focused leaders. She says the most important traits of a leader include empathy, vulnerability, humility, inclusiveness, generosity, balance, and patience (Source). These are qualities I would assign to the strongest leaders I’ve worked with in the past. The best boss I’ve ever had supported me by listening to me and making my needs a priority; challenging and pushing me to be better and stronger at my job; and including me in times of important decision-making. Even though she was my boss and my superior, she trusted my input and ideas. She earned the respect of everyone around her by showing people that same respect along with support and love. She is the kind of leader I want to be and will work hard to be.
What qualities do you look for in a strong, effective leader? Which of these new experts on Haden’s list of 50 leadership/management experts should I start reading about and studying?