I recently read a wonderful opinion piece on leadership by Natalie Nagele, who found and sold multiple companies that focus on company culture and treating employees fairly:
To me, leadership feels like it should be mostly about building teams, building communities, and rallying folks together. You don’t need to be the smartest person in the room, but you need to be the voice that people follow. The voice people listen to. The voice people believe in so that they can live their full potential. So that they feel safe. So that they feel supported to move forward. Whether that is to build a new product, or, much more importantly, to support what they believe is truly right.
I could not agree more. If you are leading a team, it is not that you need to be smarter or more skilled than everyone. But instead, as a leader you are a mediator who listens and brings together the opposing views within your team or organization to make space for the right decision to be chosen.
So much of this job heavily relies on soft skills like openness (to new information), empathy and active listening skills; "...the qualities that will prevail through politicking and through disagreements."
In the current crisis-ridden economy, media and political environment, we can only wish for ourselves that more leaders with such qualities take the helm of companies, parties and institutions.