Empowering others. Even though many senior sage leaders once worked in organizations that valued a top-down management style, and the need to have all of the answers, these senior sages have come to appreciate the value of leading through others:
Some of the most effective leaders I know have been non-directive, motivating, and encouraging of others rather than imposing their own way. I don’t have to be in the limelight. I am comfortable making things work behind the scenes, and in having others get the credit. I really like a team approach because you gain so much from everybody else. And you are not stuck on your own thoughts.
Most important is the ability to inspire people in a way and in a setting that’s comfortable, nurturing, and challenging. There is also the ability to get the most from people while staying consistent with the needs, expectations, and limitations of the community or the situation. It’s a balancing act that requires careful attention and conscious thought, and this doesn’t happen by accident.
Other traits most admired in other leaders. Also valued by many senior sages are the qualities of courage, patience, compassion, and the ability to build consensus, make sound decisions, and have a good sense of humor:
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At one point in my career I worked for the president of the company and felt I needed to report back to him on how the company was operating. This involved looking out for early warning of problems, of unethical conduct, of people cooking the books, and other emerging problems in the business. For me that was a great learning experience of dealing with high pressure. I needed courage and strength to give the president the correct information so he could make the right decisions. This was very valuable to me and I continue to admire those qualities. That’s why I put courage way up there.