Leadership Descriptors

A typical label of people's leadership ability often lies somewhere along a continuum of "strong" to "weak". I.e. "He's a very strong leader," or "She has potential but isn't a strong leader yet."

An inherent problem with this descriptor range is that its ease of simplicity also implies a narrowness in scope of what a leader can be. The mental imagery created when we hear the word "strong" conjures up images of clenched fists, a booming voice, and an aggressive, chin-forward style. It's classic western-masculine.

While it is useful to be able to play these 'classic' traits well in some situations, a nuanced and dynamic world benefits those who can choose which style to be based on the present environment. If the goal is a wide scope of positive leadership results, understanding the power of dynamic discernment is vital. 

Language has an enormous influence on our state of mind. Look no further than the resources allocated by companies to marketing their brand. They know that brand is not just important—it is so important that they will spend more than the annual GDP of many small countries.

Considering leadership ability a "leadership brand" may sound a bit much, but it also might open some mental doors. Defining one's leadership brand requires being honest with some questions:

What are qualities I have that engage others? When and where are those personal qualities best on display?

What are things about me that repel people—even the people I don't like? What could happen if I dampened those qualities or behaviors?

Who are people I know personally through work or socially that I consider good leaders? What about them makes me think that?