1. Great leadership requires immense vulnerability. The etymology of the word vulnerable lies in a Latin word, vulnus, which means “to wound.” To be vulnerable is to allow yourself to be open to the possibility that you’ll be touched by the slings and arrows of life, and might not come out of every day without some scrapes and scratches—mostly of the emotional or intellectual kind, I hope. Just as in love, athletic feats, and great works of art, real success as a leader does not come without taking risks.
2. Great leadership requires honest conversations. Whether that is a conversation that lets someone know you’re unhappy, or one that offers praise for great work, leaders bring their thoughts out into the world, take conversational risks, and take the time to connect with others.
3. Great leadership requires scrupulous accountability. Leaders hold themselves and others accountable. They work to follow through on their commitments, and acknowledge when they have not succeeded. Leaders also help others to follow through on commitments, and expect it to happen, even if it seems easier at times to let things slide.
Vulnerability, honest conversation, and accountability are not always easy, but they reap rich rewards. Do you agree that great leadership requires these things? What would you add to the list?