February 4, 2021
This decade is going to forever affect leadership.
We shared the same beliefs, but got there from two very distinct paths. Not surprisingly, we ended up with the same conclusion. To be a successful leader in this decade and even, dare we say, in this century—Inclusion is the game changer.
— Kelly Lockwood Primus, Leading NOW
I’ll admit I’ve googled. Greatest Leaders of All Time. Quotes on Leadership. The Definition of Leader.
I’ve read so much research on Leadership, that I shouldn’t wonder how it’s going to turn out.
Harvard Business Review. Deloitte. EY. McKinsey. PEW. To name a few.
And each and every time, I’ve come back to this. This definition of leadership, created at the beginning of this century, by Leading Women’s founder:
“Leadership is using the greatness in you to achieve and sustain extraordinary outcomes by engaging the greatness of others.”
A three-part definition that remains, at its essence, even more appropriate as the world of business finally pivots to focus on Inclusion.
Because Leadership is more than being an inspiration to the people who work for the organization you lead.
Because Leadership is more than delivering outcomes for your organization.
Because Leadership is about embracing the perspectives of people who are not like you.
Because Leadership is about seeking out diverse thoughts and ideas in order to do something differently, better even than before.
Because Leadership is about “Engaging the Greatness of Others” and making sure there are many “others” on your team and in your organization, and hearing their different perspectives. This.
This is how your organization will finally Build a Culture of Inclusion.
This is how your organization will exceed its goals.
This is how your leadership will be measured.
“As we look into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.”
– Bill Gates
— Lisa Tromba, Luisi Tromba Advisors
Leadership will always be about vision, influence, commitment, and character. Variables such as the clarity of communicating a vision, effectiveness of influence, principles and values to which leaders commit, and critically, the character of the leader, distinguish leadership effectiveness.
The exceptional leaders with whom I have worked and studied, had at a minimum, these four non-negotiable characteristics. They all matter. The exclusion of any one of them, disables the other three. And inclusion is paramount to all four.
The messier the mission, situation, or the environment, the greater the leader is tested, and the more essential, fundamental principles and values become.
I would say the definition of “leadership greatness,” warrants a bit of a deeper dive.
“Inclusion is the next critical pillar of leadership maturity, changing the leadership mandate for today and for the future.”
Because… vision paints an impression of the future. Without vision there can be no means for an inclusive path forward.
Because… influence is the catalyst for inclusive, collaborative passion and purpose, necessary for achievement of a vision, and outcome.
Because… commitment to a vision, or to an outcome, is not possible without commitment to the inclusion and empowerment of the people who will make it happen. Individual uniqueness and brilliance represent the core competency of any organization. Embracing, valuing, and empowering diverse perspectives at every level of an organization is a necessary commitment to enabling both individual, and collective outcomes. And exceptional organizational outcomes depend on a commitment to both.
Because… character is about making the right choices. It is a commitment to integrity, humility, and the courage to do the right things, whether popular or not. Character gives rise to trust, enabling meaningful inclusion, engagement, and empowerment of people with critical diverse perspectives who drive change, and deliver unexpected positive outcomes.
The “greatness” of a leader relies on these four key facets, and it requires intrinsically valuing and empowering the uniqueness of others.
This creates the condition for exceptional and sustainable individual growth and achievement, which, in turn, results in extraordinary team and organizational outcomes.
Then, inclusion is truly a commitment and a catalyst to opportunity, and not an optical illusion.
Then, leaders become embedders and aligners of inclusion for the value of diversity, versus conformity.
Then, leaders become humble learners, as well as knowledge and power sharers.
Then, leaders become capacity lifters of individuals, teams, and enterprises.
Then, leaders become transformers of lives, business cultures, and business outcomes.
Someone once said, great leadership is a “scarce natural resource.” It is true. Effective leadership is precious. Leadership matures over time. Inclusion is the next critical phase of leadership maturity.
“The bottom line in leadership isn’t how far we advance ourselves, but how far we advance others.” –John C. Maxwell
Lisa Tromba is the Managing Director and Co-Founder of Luisi Tromba Advisors, an Executive Search and Leadership Solutions firm. Lisa sits on the Board of the Perth Leadership Institute and she is an active member of Women in the Boardroom and the Association of Talent Development. Lisa is currently co-authoring a leadership book with the Founder of the Perth Leadership Institute, and she was quoted in the book, From Cinderella to CEO. Her articles have been published in Chief Executive Magazine and by the American Management Association, among other business publications. Find Lisa at LuisiTromba.com or linkedin.com/in/lisatromba.