Leadership Capability is an Activity, not a Personality Trait

leadership capability

We are moving into a competitive world and over 3.6 million baby boomers set to retire this year. This means more than a fourth of the millennials are expected to take their place. The millennial breed is different than the boomers and we can’t blame them. It’s the way they were brought up and technology has a lot to do with it too, but what is leadership got to do with it? The autocratic or democratic leadership traits that worked with baby boomers will not fare well with the millennials. With millennials, leadership has to be tailor-made, and it goes beyond the ratings the Myer-Briggs personality tests could give you.

Relationship between leadership and personality

Your personality could be something you show people with your guard up, and a dark side with you are off guard. For example, you can be at your best at interviews or when you meet with the company bosses. Your personality truly shines when in the everyday work scenario. If you have negative tendencies, then your relationships at work will have a negative impact.

When personality tests highlight these tendencies and the relationship between personality and leadership then becomes important. However, no personality tests can predict your behavior on an ongoing basis. Leadership styles need to be tweaked depending on the situation and the person you are dealing with. Determining personality traits involves science, developing leadership, however, is an art. For mentoring millennials, it’s all about walking the talk. Are you doing these things?

If you do these things, you’re not a leader


In today’s world, stop doing these things if you want to develop yourself as a leader. Get your results with threats, insults, “bossy” attitude and fear. You don’t treat your staff and customers with respect. Whether your team member is sick, demotivated or burned out, you don’t care. You care as long as your interests are in check. Power and position drive you, not a purposeful sense of duty. You criticize instead of showing the way or offering suggestions. Being process driven is your motto and you don’t want to change even if it calls for it. You repel talent instead of attracting and retaining them. Taking a backseat is not your cup of tea; you rather be in the spotlight. You blame your team for failure and take all credit for success.

Sure, you can learn from your mistakes, observe others or read about leadership in books and countless articles. How you come by the skill of leadership is not relevant here. Whether you were born with it or whether you nurtured your leadership personality traits, the only thing that matters is how you show you are a leader through your activities. You need to apply those skills so your team can benefit. You need to learn to be a successful leader.

Can you learn to be a successful leader?


Are you pining for a new leadership role in your company? Most people want the position for the Status quo it represents; who can resist an advance in career! Big changes happen when you bag a leadership role but, few ever think about the implications of the leader role entails. Talented millennials want to work under a leader who makes their world better. You need to develop your leadership capabilities to gain and keep the best talent. Even if you weren’t born a leader, there are activities you can do to prove yourself as a leader.

Put interests of your people first

Playing political games or manipulation can only get you so far. To develop your leadership capability the most important activity you can do is to develop your team by simplifying processes or encourage your team’s growth.

Confront issues, do not cower under them

confronting conflict

The leader who blames her team for failures and refuses to defend them in front of adversaries is the worst kind of leader. To develop your leadership capability remember to stand tall in front of adversities, accept mistakes and be a champion for confronting conflicts.

Show them how it’s done

The millennials working under you are just starting off but you were in their place once. When they make mistakes, instead of criticising or belittling them, help them know how it’s done. Volunteer to mentor, introduce them to your network and groom them.

Coach and engage with your people

To develop your leadership capabilities you have to care about your people. The best way to show you care is to talk to them, not at them. Millennials love compliments and regular constructive feedback will work in favor of everyone.

Update yourself

Show interest and embrace new technology. A great leader is always learning, so be open to instruction from your team. Ask questions and listen to people when you need. To develop your leadership capability move forward and adapt to changes.

Don’t mollycoddle your team

And we don’t mean that in a good way. Read it as micromanagement. No one likes a boss breathing down their neck. The best leaders allow their people to find solutions and make choices. Resolve any trust issues by spending more time with your team.

Most of all, be consistent. Consistent leaders are reliable and responsive; that’s how you earn the loyalty of the best talent. If you want to develop your leadership capabilities, then walk the talk, take action.


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