Staying the Course | 8 Leadership Fundamentals

For generations, theorists have been grappling with a mind-bending question: “What does excellent leadership actually mean?” They’re not alone. Our profession has also been busy improving competency models for several decades, embedding them in their organizational contexts.


Of course, the digital age has moved a host of new competencies center stage. It was already transforming the concept of togetherness. Then March 2020 arrived out of the blue and with it, everything changed again. The world was crying out for answers. Rarely had so many demands been heaped on our politicians, scientists and economists.


However, even mid-crisis, something is happening.


Some central leadership qualities are emerging out of the fog – traits that deserve a universal place. And yet, particularly in business, these have not been questioned enough. We need the courage to tackle these themes at the right time, in the right place, not allowing ourselves to be blinded to them.


Let’s put these 8 leadership fundamentals under the spotlight:


  1. Empathy: the ability to relate to another person’s feelings and state of mind. Not just on an individual, but on a collective level
  2. Service: to what extent do self-focussed ‘alphas’ give their ego a back seat? How far do they succeed in putting the common good before their own interests?
  3. Long-term perspective: the ability to see beyond the immediate as the last resort – however tempting that may be
  4. Imagination: the power to see what might be. To indicate a way that gives a sense of direction. Developing a narrative that unifies people
  5. Perseverence: to stay on track, not letting the goal out of our sight, being prepared to act outside our comfort zone – for as long as it takes
  6. Modesty: to understand that it can be more important to listen than to be in constant transmission mode. Letting others shine. Celebrating their success
  7. Resilience: bouncing back – much has been written about this in recent years. The ability to learn from crisis or conflict, to come out stronger. Never losing our empathy along the way
  8. The art of deep thinking: the ability to reflect at a higher level, tackling a topic from as many perspectives as possible.


It goes without saying that leadership demands a host of competencies. These are rightly highlighted time and again: entrepreneurship, for example. Or ambition, communications skills, intellect. But they’ll be a flash in the pan if these 8 fundamental attitudes are not deeply anchored in a leader‘s personality.


Here at Amrop, we‘re committed to bringing attitudes and ethics more into the center of leadership discussions. This is part of our understanding of what leadership means, and how our profession can make a positive difference in the world.