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5 Leadership Skills to Develop Heading Into 2021

5 Leadership Skills to Develop Heading Into 2021

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Leadership requires self-awareness, the acquisition of wisdom and the willingness to demonstrate integrity and to espouse changes when needed.

Leaders today need to “go to the balcony,” an idiom meaning to think things over, reflect or take the time to consider potential hidden dynamics. It involves seeing so-called SWs: the strengths (what you admire and value most) and the weaknesses (opportunities for growth).

Going to the balcony also sometimes involves morphing into a strong, receptive, honest, questioning, energetic collective that recognizes not only how good we already are but also how much greater we can be. It otherwise requires learning the discipline of pacing, recognizing the importance of communicating difficult messages and having an overarching vision to enable people to overcome difficulties that may lie ahead.

More than ever, our world needs leaders willing to set things right. Whether politicians or others, such leaders will become the single strongest force for transformation in the 21st century.

Therefore, in remains of this especially challenging year, each of us should recommit to:

  • Learning what we don’t know.
  • Figuring out what we need to do to become better at what we do.
  • Pushing beyond our comfort zones to challenge paradigms and to point out flawed thinking and ideas.
  • Transforming brilliant ideas into brilliant leadership.
  • Honing our listening skills to build consensus, to motivate and inspire others and to cultivate humility.

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Benjamin Ola. Akande is the former Assistant Vice Chancellor of Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Akande, a long-time St. Louis resident, currently serves on the board of Saint Louis Art Museum, Forest Park Forever, Girls Inc. and Argent Capital.

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A graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, Susan Sanders Block has chaired more than 100 events and committees and been honored by various organizations for her contributions to the metro area.