We talk a lot about disrupting the innovation cycle, creating and spreading exponential technologies, expanding humanity. We all need to evolve our leadership to achieve meaningful disruption to advance ourselves, our businesses, our future. But what exactly is “leadership”??? A simple search on Google makes me dizzy.
According to Joe Iarocci from Brown University, in October 2015 Amazon offered 57,136 books with the word “leadership” in the title. According to the statistics he looked into, 4 new books on leadership are published everyday! He thinks there are 5 reasons behind the huge number of leadership books:
- Many people feel free to offer opinions on leadership.
- Readers have many different tastes in leadership books.
- Anyone can publish a leadership book.
- The practice of leadership is constantly evolving.
- There is no limit to the way leadership can be described.
Among the countless books and articles and videos, there is one source that inspires me since late 2013, which explains what makes a great leader today, succinctly, successfully, exquisitely: the TED video from BCG’s Roselinde Torres. She says that leadership in the 21st century is defined and evidenced by three questions:
- Where are you looking to anticipate the next change to your business model or your life? Great leaders are not head-down. They see around corners, shaping their future, not just reacting to it.
- What is the diversity measure of your personal and professional stakeholder network? So this question is about your capacity to develop relationships with people that are very different than you. Great leaders understand that having a more diverse network is a source of pattern identification at greater levels and also of solutions, because you have people that are thinking differently than you are.
- Are you courageous enough to abandon a practice that has made you successful in the past? Great leaders dare to be different. They don’t just talk about risk-taking, they actually do it. The most impactful development comes when you are able to build the emotional stamina to withstand people telling you that your new idea is naïve or reckless or just plain stupid.
Leadership has nothing to do with a title and clearly, you have to be a great person before you can become a great leader. Good news is, apparently, most leadership traits can be learned and sharpened with time and practice. Here are the most important leadership competencies, according to leaders around the world, published in 2016 by HBR:
It is great to see that “having strong ethics” is the highest ranked competency of a leader as it is clearly a priority to address ethical considerations of each disruptive technology & avoid negative unintended consequences while increasing innovation, especially in the era of artificial intelligence and big data.
In a nutshell:
Anticipate change, embrace diversity of opinion, dare to be different, AND combine your passion with high ethical and moral standards.
Ezgi Tasdemir is a Novartis Oncology employee. This article is created by Ezgi Tasdemir. All the views, analysis, and perspectives are fully independent and belong to the author only, they do not represent the views or opinions of Novartis or any other company or organization. The author does not receive any funding or support from Novartis or any other pharmaceutical/non-pharmaceutical company for this blog.