Essential Leadership Skills
Four skills enable leaders to learn from adversity:
Engage others in shared meaning. For example, Sidney Harman mobilized employees around a radical new management approach—amid a factory crisis.
A distinctive, compelling voice. With words alone, college president Jack Coleman preempted a violent clash between the football team and anti-Vietnam War demonstrators threatening to burn the American flag. Coleman’s suggestion to the protestors? Lower the flag, wash it, then put it back up.
Integrity. Coleman’s values prevailed during the emotionally charged face-off between antiwar demonstrators and irate football players.
Adaptive capacity. This most critical skill includes the ability to grasp context, and hardiness. Grasping context requires weighing many factors (e.g., how different people will interpret a gesture). Without this quality, leaders can’t connect with constituents.