4 key traits for tomorrow’s leaders

business woman giving speechLeading requires a range of behaviors. From supportive coaching to skeptical questioning, you need to spur others to perform at their consistent best.

Adopt these four styles to lift others’ performance:

1. Sherpa. Mountain climbers employ a Sherpa to help them reach the summit. The Sherpa’s role is to enable others to charge ahead.

Adopt the Sherpa mentality at work: Lead others by supporting their success. Create an environment for them to excel by accommodating their reasonable re­­quests, communicating with enthusiasm and encouraging them to test their limits.

2. Provocateur. Extract fresh insights from your team by rejecting groupthink. Prod people to challenge their assumptions and propose lots of “stupid ideas.”

HR Memos D

If a group reaches a consensus with little or no debate, instruct participants to argue opposing sides. See yourself as a poking stick: Get individuals to embrace possibilities that they might otherwise ignore.

3. Futurist. Calibrate your team’s goals based on forward-looking trends, not last year’s numbers. Lead by spotlighting what’s ahead and what’s at stake, rather than dwelling on past results.

4. Storyteller. Tell lively stories that drive home important themes. That’s better than staging a data dump or drowning audiences in dry, number-laden slides.

The best stories build drama. They convey a vision through a suspenseful or captivating narrative arc. Engage listeners so that they feel emotionally connected to your message and pay full attention.

— Adapted from “The five new faces of leadership,” Josh Linkner.