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Eight great leadership 'superpowers'

By pa360, May 24 2015 02:09PM

The wonderful thing about 'superpowers' is that they enable ordinary people to do extraordinary things. For a leader, the awareness and deployment of 'superpowers' means the difference between an average leader being good and a good leader being great. You could say that 'superpowers' are the defining brand of great leadership.

Take for example, the courage of Winston Churchill during the early stages of World War II and the forgiveness of Nelson Mandela during and following the Apartheid regime in South Africa. The demonstration of these leadership 'superpowers' achieved transformational change and galvanised others in the most appalling and adverse of circumstances.

Listed below are my pick of eight great leadership superpowers.

1. love - in simple terms, truly great leaders are able to transmit genuine care and concern for the well being of others. When leadership is shaped by love, people will follow their leader even when they disagree with them. Nothing will do more to evidence leadership credibility and build leadership trust than the ability to show love for others.

2. delegation - delegation is the power to lead through others. A leader who delegates, creates a virtuous cycle because people who are empowered will also feel empowered to empower others. Few leadership 'superpowers' will do more than delegation to release others into great leadership.

3. affirmation - affirmation is the power of encouragement. To affirm is to build up, energise and release others into dynamic potential and productivity. Evidence of this 'superpower' at work is when a leader is able to motivate others to perform at their very best even when they feel at their worst.

4. judgement - judgement is the power to evaluate evidence and make decisions. Good judgement relies on excellent spatial awareness and situational reading. A leader able to exercise the judgement 'superpower' will get it right even when they get it wrong. As with love, when people trust a leader's judgement they will go with you even if they don't agree with you.

5. humility - humility is the power of selflessness. In humility a leader shares credit with others, even when they do not deserve it. Humility is evidence of a confident, mature and emotionally intelligent leader. The very sort of person who can be trusted to lead others.

6. courage - courage is the power to control one's fears, often in the face of significant risk to oneself. A leader who can show courage at a time of crisis demonstrates credibility, builds confidence, wins trust and has the power to galvanise and inspire others to overcome the insurmountable.

7. resilience - resilience is the power of endurance. The ability to endure, particularly in times of crisis or in response to failure, is the ultimate test of leadership credentials. A leader able to endure not only overcomes, but also creates a pathway through which countless others can pass.

8. forgiveness - forgiveness is the power of reconciliation and healing. Forgiveness repairs the otherwise irreparable, it builds bridges and promotes understanding. Thinking about forgiveness I am often reminded of the extraordinary actions of Nelson Mandela who re-defined the leadership paradigm through his capacity to forgive others.

If there is moral to this story it is this: great leaders are not known by their 'superpowers'; great leaders are known by what they achieve through their 'superpowers'.

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