Empathetic Listener: Great leaders are great listeners and exercise their ear-to-mouth count (2:1) appropriately. Empathetic listening helps put you in others’ shoes, removes emotion from the discussion, understands motivation/assumptions/premise of the thought process to re-engineer or refine ideas effectively using constructive dissention. Practice effective use of silence and pause in conversations.
Leverage: Practice listening more than speaking with your experienced counterpart. Practice putting yourself in their shoes and ask the question “what makes them believe what they believe and why?”
Objectivity Provider: Objectivity provider not only brings analytical framework to the process of decision-making but essentially knows how to craft a message with the right facts in the right setting, providing the right details in the right language that is understood by key stakeholders. It is a purposeful practice of tailoring stakeholder specific business speak/lingo and glossary of terms.
Leverage: Experienced leaders can provide coaching on key information, source, detail and packaging the content. Experienced leaders can help identify the stakeholders and their preferred business vocabulary.
Vision Communicator: There is an art to customizing your message and communicating your vision to your audience. It involves using objective or visual storyboarding, developing elevator speeches, anecdotal or experiential storytelling and providing right substance and detail with “what’s in it for them” style presentations.
Leverage: Experienced leaders can provide a wealth of information on understanding the key players, their history, their stylistic preferences, motivations and message that resonates the most with them.
Feasibility Appreciator: This is about understanding the ground realities of getting things done. This fine tunes the young leader’s ability to take an idea from vision to its value, develop an appreciation for effort, resources, skills, time requirements. Be on the look-out for incentives which inhibit or enable success in different settings. Developing people acumen, feasibility appreciation is a key skill to transition to leadership roles and create broader transformations.
Leverage: Spending time with experienced leaders on understanding field realities, stress, pressures, activities; time management & sensitivity to disruption; constituents and potential delays.
Systematic Planner: Systematic Planning is the bridge/tactical plans that connect thought to operational reality. Structuring your mind to think how hard-(assets/infrastructure), soft-(process), sensitive-(people) interact helps create a robust plan; pinpoints fallacy; identifies areas of change & influence, personnel/functions impacted. It keeps everyone on the same page at all times, which is a key management issue today.
Leverage: Use the operational and process know-how of experienced leaders to build systematic and adaptable plans to translate strategy to implementation & getting things done the right way first time.
The experienced professional
The role of the experienced leader is organized slightly different. It talks about the key characteristic that the experienced leader can develop. People may argue that the role of experienced leader is sharing and not learning. But being in the spirit of continuous learning and always a better way of doing things, we submit these qualities as developmental areas. Attributes explain qualities experienced leader can bring to the table to foster better collaboration and cultural co-existence.
Knowledge Master: Knowledge masters not only are leaders who have the knowledge of current processes but also have the know-how to use their experience to morph the future. The key is to have the strong knowledge of the operations, but also have the audacity to abandon them and systematically pursue the future. Though seemingly simple it is most difficult to avoid shaping the future like the current operation.