PolyU student question: Leader’s most important attitude

One of the questions asked by PolyU students is:

What is the most important attitude to be a successful leader?

One needs many traits in order to move people in certain direction. Nevertheless, there is one I find particularly scarce and therefore very important. I call it: cloudless thinking. Everyone is capable of becoming a leader, the problem is conditioned thinking or lack of awareness we all have. This conditioned thinking is created by our parents, environment we live in, education, all kinds of rules and the ways people work and live their lives. These things often create obstacles in seeing what is possible and what is really happening. A striking example of this is when a suggestion is made to have a team which could manage itself. Many, if not most, would react with disbelief, and start stating reasons why something like that would not work. Even after presenting succes stories and evidence how great it is, some still say: “It can never work in my company or country.”. Leadership is about reshaping the rules of your environment. Seeing the possibilities, while others are limited in their thinking because of sometimes lifelong conditioning.

This might be understood as: “So I need to disobey, behave differently from what my parents and everyone else is telling me, do other things than what I learned”. No, this would be just another conditioned thinking. Cloudless thinking means first being aware of your own personality, needs, and how does your behaviour influences your interaction with others. For example, if someone offends you in front of others, what will you do? Defend yourself? Revenge? Think less of yourself because of what he said? Or simply see this as it is: a remark from someone who only tried to offend you. It sounds like you need grey hair first before having such a wisdom. But, many leaders who shape today’s world are still quite young or started very young. It is young people who think more clearly and see the possibilities.

Cloudless thinking could also mean being aware of personality of others and their needs, or simply: empathy. A person is seen as a leader because others feel understood by him or her. Once you are capable of understanding others, it is much easier to change things. Nothing really changes unless people already desire it, usually unconsciously.

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