Six Critical Traits Of A Fluent Leader
One of the greatest hurdles that leaders will face lies in knowing how to engage with people from other backgrounds. The question you will have to ask at every step is, “How do I define and/or identify what gap exists in my department, my division, at every level inside my firm? Then, what do I do to bridge that gap?” Becoming a fluent leader takes much more than just knowing the best way to hear from everyone on your team or reaching out to your direct report instead of waiting for her to come to you. These are six critical traits for a fluent leader that encompass the attitudes and behaviors needed to flex up, down and across:
1. Possessing Self- and Other-Awareness. Fluent leaders have a good grasp of their own strengths, weaknesses and preferences. Additionally, they are able to quickly discern the preferences of others in order to know how to flex their style. This trait in action shows a leader’s cultural competence and emotional intelligence.
2. Adaptability: Adaptability is a key component of fluent leadership, indicating an ability to adapt to stretch your styles and preferences and sometimes exercise other styles to better
interact with others. Fluent leaders are not only able to admit their mistakes; they recast them as teachable moments and are able to adapt to shifting styles and circumstances.
3. Comfort with Ambiguity and Complexity: Fluent leaders are unique in that they are able to break down complex situations and uncertainty. They know how to get to the root of the relevant issues and priorities in any given situation. They manage even tough situations and
search for reconciliation.
4.Unconditional Positive Regard: Fluent leaders demonstrate unconditional positive regard (UPR), a term coined by psychologist Carl Rogers that signifies the unconditional acceptance of others, even in their vulnerable and weakest moments. Fluent leaders with UPR are able
to envision the future state of a situation or of a person’s development, give feedback, and imagine future leadership potential for others.
5. Innovation: Fluent leaders are also marked by a tremendous and insatiable curiosity in other people, in their approach to differences, and in their innovative ways of building relationships and doing business. When they encounter something or someone they don’t understand,
their first reaction isn’t avoidance — it’s interest.
6. Flexing Across the Power Gap: Fluent leaders are comfortable owning a leadership identity and effective at managing up, down and across the organization as well as with customers and vendors. They understand their power gap preferences and those of others on the hierarchical vs. egalitarian spectrum. They close the power gap and forge trusting relationships with all levels, through empathy, trust and integrity.