What’s the most important role of a leader today?

 / Jamie Wilson

  • What’s the most important role of a leader today? image

For the past few years, I’ve gone on an explorative journey to talk to business leaders, to define what leadership really is, to understand how to lead, and develop a set of personal principles to shape my own style.

Progress over perfection has been my focus.

I’ve been fortunate to learn from Kevin Roberts, who is now our Global Chair. As the former CEO and Chairman of the world’s largest creative company for twenty years, KR has great experience when it comes to leadership.

Here’s my top learnings on leadership so far:

  1. Live by The Four Agreements – Be impeccable with your word. Don’t take anything personally. Don’t make assumptions. Always do your best.
  2. Start with Purpose – Purpose creates belief, belonging and direction. Purpose is built by Dream, Spirit, Beliefs, Character, and Focus.
  3. Invent your own language – Strong cultures have a system of meaning, a vocabulary that binds everyone together. Using a common language that employs mantras, mottos and metaphors helps leaders connect their people’s personal meaning to a shared vision of the future.
  4. People over Profit – This is a personal motto of mine. I believe that People should always come first. Take care of your people and they will help you take care of the company.
  5. Listen Actively – To lead is to ask questions. To listen actively. To use your eyes and ears. To pay attention to every detail. To decide. Leaders must seek to understand before they seek to be understood.
  6. Practice Blue Ocean Thinking – Blue Ocean thinking focuses on the big picture, reaches beyond existing demand, reduces cost, and creates value. Blue Oceans create an uncontested market space, make the competition irrelevant and create new demand. What will you Eliminate, Raise, Reduce, Create?
  7. Achieve more with less – More joy, engagement, creativity, work-life integration, speed, revenue, and profit. And less waste, travel, office space, certainty, precedent.
  8. Charge up your Curiosity & Creativity – Curiosity takes us to new places. It allows us to imagine the impossible. Creativity allows us to prove it is within reach.
  9. Attack with absolute commitment – Dream Big, take small steps. Leaders create their own reality. They fail fast, learn fast and fix fast. Replace annual plans with 100—day sprints and overnight delivery.
  10. Earn Customer Love – Never give customers what they want. Give them what they never dreamed possible.
  11. Become a Radical Optimist – An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. In a VUCA world (Volatile, Uncertain, Crazy and Ambiguous) become Supervuca — Vibrant, Crazy, Unreal and Astounding!
  12. Build Creative Environments – Building creative environments, inspiring creative ideas and finding creative solutions will be the signatures of Peak Performance.

And finally, what’s the most important role of a leader today?

To create other leaders and inspire everyone to be the best they can be.