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Strong inner core drives success

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There are hidden dimensions to leadership. What you see isn’t necessarily what you get.

John Mattone, a Florida-based consultant, says that strong leaders need a strong “inner core” as well as an impressive “outer core.” Many people mistakenly judge the outer core alone.

Outward behaviors are easy to evaluate. A leader who makes wise decisions, cites relevant facts or tells vivid stories may come across as a dynamo.

But for Mattone, it’s the less visible leadership traits that matter even more. Examples include courage, diligence and integrity.

Author of Intelligent Leadership, ­Mattone prizes maturity as one of the most crucial inner characteristics of strong leaders. A mature individual has an un­­shakable belief in what’s right. It’s the foundation upon which everything else rests.

Maturity brings perspective. When facing a tough challenge, a mature leader can step back and assess the situation with clarity and wisdom based on personal experience. You’re more apt to respond with versatility when you’re able to adopt a mature outlook and ­analyze complexities from a position of calm detachment.

Similarly, leaders with unyielding admirable values tend to garner respect. It’s not enough to talk about your values; you need to follow through in quiet but consistent ways to show that you treat such values—from honesty to teamwork—as real and meaningful.

“It’s been my experience that a leader’s strong inner core will predict a strong outer core,” Mattone says.

—Adapted from “How to Choose Tomorrow’s Leaders,” John Mattone.

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