5 Leadership Superpowers That Will Help You Revolutionize Your Leadership Style Right Now
A leader’s Superpower is their most potent leadership asset. It is the part of you that is most influential to your team. It can be a learned skill or aspect of your personality. Every developed leader has at least one Superpower. For most of us, leveraging that “Super” asset is the best way to influence our teams and get the results we want. Guess what? You too can revolutionize your leadership style by leveraging these superpowers.
As leaders, we all wield significant power — but not the old-model version of bossing people around and yelling “you’re fired!” if they don’t make the grade.
True power calls us to connect with others and to connect them with their own strengths, encourage them and lead them toward places they wouldn’t normally go to on their own. In this article, I will illuminate the five leadership superpowers, and why they are important. Think of them as slices of a pie. You wouldn’t bring a housewarming pie that is missing a slice or two, would you? Nor would you want to be a leader who is a few slices short of a superpower pie.
Disguised as a mild-mannered professional, a super leader is endowed with extraordinary qualities and fights a never-ending battle for mission, impact, and results.
Super leaders are heroic. Why? They put the interests of others ahead of their own. They are admired for their integrity and resolve. They empower and motivate their team to manifest a positive vision for the future. They create transformational change in people and situations. This type of leadership is the work of heroes.
To stand out, super leaders leverage superpowers.
These abilities aren’t always easy to put into practice, but they are always impactful. They can be learned over time, and are honed through experience. Like most things powerful and influential, they can be used to achieve both good and bad aims. Your superpower is literally your secret sauce, something unique to you. It may be a skill or trait others may have but unique to you as there is no one else who is you.
Below are five leadership superpowers that may surprise you!
Rather than focusing on whether you happened to be standing in the wrong line when they were passing out the leadership genes but in the right line when you were named managing partner or the chair of your committee, let’s identify some of superpowers or traits of a good leader. Here are five powers so effective for your leadership that they’re practically superpowers!
Superpower #1: Elasticity
Super leaders see self-doubt and taking themselves outside of their comfort zone as a good thing as this creates a trigger to learn more, explore more and expand their thinking. Anything outside of thinking “I know” is growth and being stretched outside what you know helps you explore and discover new ways of how to do things and how not to do things.
By taking risks and challenging the status quo and what you know can set the scene for others to follow and adopt a comfortable being uncomfortable mindset.
With change as the only constant, we are facing, super leaders know that stretching themselves and others are key to staying relevant, challenged and innovative in today’s business landscape. Doing everyday things differently ensures you will continue to step outside your comfort zone. Questioning how things are done and explaining new things can take you and others outside your comfort zone.
Super leaders should be constantly looking for ways to improve the structure and challenge the status-quo.
It requires the use of social intelligence to see how the team are operating, the lines of communication, the informal networks and also looking outside to learn new ideas that can be assimilated into the organization, team or individual. It also involves creativity to come up with new modus-operandi, products and services and then champion those ideas so everybody gets to hear about them.
An insatiable curiosity is the ability to set aside preconceived ideas about what we know, wedded to an intense desire to learn.
Curiosity drives both learning and innovation. Leaders who are insatiably curious about the world around them readily acknowledge what they don’t know, but they don’t just stop there. When they recognize they don’t know something that is important to what they care about they plunge in and learn everything they can about it. Leaders with this superpower are constantly asking questions and listening generously to the answers they get. Insatiably curios leaders continue to learn, grow, and get better at what they do throughout their careers.
Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
In a workplace context, leaders are expected to manage change and transitions even when (and especially when) team members are resistant to the change. Even good change is stressful, and your team will remember how you supported them through change, for better or for worse. Such leaders know how they deal with conflict and are open to exploring the results they get. Managing conflict is often difficult because most people don’t like it. But it’s the leadership superpower that makes the difference between a good day and developing an ulcer.
Superpower #2: Laser Vision
Super leaders create an inspiring vision. Although the future is ultimately unknowable and invisible, leaders paint a compelling picture of a future state that inspires excitement and motivation. They, like all of us, could choose to see the invisible things that hold us back, such as fears and doubts. Instead, they put attention and energy towards hopeful and empowering visions.
Fueled by a unique insight and a flair for creative problem solving, vision is one of the most important factors in leadership.
Visionary leaders can often see what no one else sees, finding potential and opportunity in a time of change or even company contraction. They can see beyond the ambiguity and challenges of today to an empowering picture of tomorrow. With an infectious enthusiasm for what is possible, they have the power to bring teams and entire organizations together towards a common goal. They often have a flair for storytelling or symbolism that paints a powerful picture and energizes people toward the future goal.
A vision is a picture of a better place that answers the question, “What world do you want to create?”
A visionary leader ensures the vision becomes reality by stating clear goals, outlining a strategic plan for achieving those goals and equipping and empowering each member to take action on the plan at the organizational, team and individual levels. A leadership superpower of vision can lead to greater employee engagement, more productive teams, and improved outcomes. When each person clearly sees that same picture of a better place in their own minds’ eye, each person connects to it and feels that pull of motivation to want to create that place.
Thinking ahead of the pack and leading not just managing is vital to stay relevant.
Deep intentional awareness of things such as building strategic relationships, future innovation, and critical thinking, by having deep conversations with your team and leading people and managing activity with a plan and the end in mind are some examples where being intentional can go a long way. Being on purpose and deliberate is key in all that you do, without intention there is no direction.
A visionary leader knows that his or her ideas are different and are a significant risk and the people that follow such a leader are also taking a chance in doing so.
So, it’s critical that you take responsibility for your actions and your vision. Remember, having a vision is much like having a child. You would do anything and sacrifice everything for your child, but when you want anyone else to participate in raising that child, you have to pay them. A vision is the same: you cannot expect your team to sacrifice like you are willing to do. It’s not their vision; it’s yours.
Superpower #3: Supernatural Hearing
Sensitivity is the leader’s ability to feel what is happening with a person or a group. The most effective leaders can sense the energy in people and know when it’s the right time to say and do certain things. Sometimes it’s time for sympathy, sometimes it can be the moment for an empathetic response, most of the time it’s just having the sense of good timing.
Enquiring and empathizing requires the use of compassion and emotional intelligence.
With this you enquire how a person is or a team is and you try to intuit how they are feeling so that you can understand their situation more clearly. Often this will mean listening for what isn’t being said, understanding the whole person and what’s going on in their life outside of the organization, so you can support them. The ability to suspend judgments and assumptions and listen to others with an open, generous mind is truly a superpower. Most of us listen to others through mental filters made up of preconceived judgments about them and what they’re talking about.
In a world of increased uncertainty, it’s extra important to be kind. Kindness is a soft skill that is hard but powerful.
When we are stressed or in a hurry, it is easy to forget the niceties that make human interaction meaningful. Kindness also means checking in on people. Is anyone struggling? Are people getting what they need? Skilled managers are kind even when firmness is required. We have all seen a leader “lose the room” with an insensitive remark or a topic that is not suited to the audience. The main problem with the insensitive leader is that he almost always thinks that the problem is the audience. It’s a classic “they don’t know what they don’t know” scenario.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
This is incredibly important in any workplace environment and helps you to manage conflict and relationships. However, it’s become even more important as businesses compete to better understand the needs of their customers. People don’t want to be analyzed and marketed to-they want brands to understand what they want and need. Empathetic leaders are good negotiators because they are curious and ask open-ended questions to confirm understanding and establish common ground. This superpower ensures that they can articulate and clarify their own wants and needs without minimizing the needs of others.
Altruism means you care about the welfare of others.
In business, this means you want the people around you to do better, feel better, and perform better. You are not an island. You don’t need to take all of the credit for yourself. You understand that building up the people around you makes you all look better. This is an incredible leadership quality, but not one you might traditionally associate with power or strength.
Superpower #4: Self-awareness
Your beliefs are based on your personal position resulting from factors such as experience, values, culture, biases, etc. Super leaders believe they have the capacity, competence, and courage to do whatever it takes to lead people to success. They believe they can, and they do.
Super leaders’ beliefs shape their decisions and their energy and confidence around others.
They know what they value and what’s important to them. These things shape beliefs that serve them and their team and organization. They regularly check in on what they stand for and what they don’t and how this plays out in decision making and their day to day actions. One of the most important things you can do as a leader, and in life in general, is to get really clear on your values and your strengths. Your values are who you are at your core. Those often un-named rules of what is important to you.
Through self-awareness, you will see and understand thyself, including your personality traits, values, habits, emotions, and the psychological needs that drive your behaviors.
People with this superpower know themselves well enough to avoid getting in their own way. They constantly seek to understand themselves better and are open to any feedback that helps them do so. Being highly self-aware, these people are more readily able to listen generously and take multiple perspectives. Leaders who are highly self-aware know and can use their strengths effectively. They also know their limitations and can work around them effectively.
Besides, looking after yourself isn’t an option. Being a leader is rewarding but nobody ever said it was easy!
Self-care is rejuvenating and we can only tend to others if we tend to ourselves. Put your hobbies in your calendar and enjoy them. Disconnect from work regularly. Go for a long walk. Create your own professional development plan and work towards it. Taking care of your mental, physical and spiritual needs enhances your life and helps you be a more effective manager.
The bottom line is all leaders need to actively maintain their humility.
Amazingly, the personality trait of humility and a healthy level of self-awareness will make you the most effective leader you can be. You will see what people need and what they expect, and you will know exactly how you can get better. It may go against intuition, but modesty is a secret weapon of some of the greatest leaders. When you’re modest you stay teachable and humble, no matter how much you already know. You see yourself as a servant and a student more than a master, and you exhibit a willingness to engage with others that leads to respect.
Superpower #5: Nuts & Guts
If you could have only one leadership superpower, tenacity is the one you’d want. In many situations it’s the factor that determines your chances for success. When everything around you is falling apart and you respond with determination, courage, persistence, and strength, that’s character. And genuine character is the highest form of power.
Indeed, super leaders trust their gut and back it up with data. These leaders are willing to create new trends and look for ways to innovate.
In addition to the customary five senses that help inform us about our environment, there is a sixth sense — intuition. It’s a superpower that each of us has, although super leaders develop and use this power regularly. Many people feel intuition in their bodies. Sometimes it is literally a “gut” reaction. Some people don’t feel intuition in their bodies at all — they simply have a sense, see an image, or have a thought. One way to strengthen this superpower is to practice taking immediate action on an intuitive “hit” and see what happens.
While others pride themselves on being a great thinkers, super leaders understand the power of decisiveness.
They observe and assess, then act quickly and confidently without second-guessing their conclusions. Even if you get it wrong once in a while, you’ll still outperform those who are slow to act. Super leaders act from a place of freedom and possibility, willing to take risks. Although they’re self-aware enough to understand and consider potential consequences of their actions, they aren’t weighed down by fears. They are prepared to step outside of their comfort zones and “fly” without secure footing or guaranteed safety nets.
When a leader is confident, it is easier for others to believe in him or her.
Super leaders understand the power of decisiveness. They observe and assess, then act quickly and confidently without second-guessing their conclusions. Most people are reluctant to make decisions because it makes them responsible. Confident leaders are those who strive to be decisive in everything they do and avoid passing the buck to someone else. Being decisive requires emotional stability, critical thinking and collaboration with those you trust to give you solid advice. It also helps to think of decisiveness as a muscle: it needs to be used frequently in order to be strong and effective.
One of the primary reasons top leaders are able to make tough decisions is because they have learned to trust their intuitive instincts. Bill Gates says, “Often you have to rely on intuition.”
Intuitive people are able to plunge right into a problem and gather facts, but they are also listening to their intuitive senses. People looking in from the outside might interpret these actions as impulsive or “flying by the seat of their pants,” but in reality they are making quick decisions based on a lifetime of accumulated wisdom and understanding that their mind is processing — just at a different level. There is a certain element of risk in intuitive leadership, but that is the nature of leadership. I love the motto of the British Special Air Service: “Who Dares Wins!“
The world needs great leadership and effective teamwork at every level and every corner of the world right now, if we’re to tackle the enormous challenges which have come about by ego-centric leadership that has run rampant supported by delusional ideology and institutions which condones selfish behavior.
It may feel vain to consider your sources of power, but they’re the things you need to fulfill the responsibilities of leadership — and the more you understand them, the stronger they become.
Superpowers can help you sprint instead of run, walk instead of crawl and can be skill-based, a quality or a trait. It can be obvious to see or maybe hidden. We think of Superman or Wonder Woman, not many knew of their true powers as they worked behind the scenes. Sharing your superpowers can help others grow and can assist you as a leader, to create future leaders and show others the way so they can learn from you.
Take a moment to reflect on your superpowers, the special qualities that make you shine in your role.
Your strongest leadership asset is your superpowers. This is the asset you can use to move people and to influence results. Every one of us is original and unique based on the strong and weak parts of our personality, and we all have a superpower. Think about the different ways you can leverage yours to get better results with your team.
Every one of us is original and unique based on the strong and weak parts of our personality, and we all have a superpower. Use it!
Leaders reveal themselves through their behavior. You do not have to be a manager to be a leader, but to be a respected and effective manager, you must be a great leader. By learning and mastering these five superpowers, you will be the best manager you can be. Comment below and share how you plan to use your superpowers more in your work and life.
Digital Dandy. Hacker From Heart. Workaholic. Coding Artist. Self-made.