I recently watched a TED talk given by Roselinde Torres, entitled “What it Takes to be a Great Leader.” Ms. Torres has extensive experience learning about and studying leadership, as well as a being an advisor over the years to hundreds of top executives. I pulled the following about Ms. Torres from her bio on forum-americas.org:
“Roselinde Torres is a Senior Partner and Managing Director in the New York Office. She joined Boston Consulting Group in 2006 and is a senior leader in the Organization Practice Area and the global topic leader for Leadership. In 2009, Roselinde was named a BCG Fellow, a prestigious recognition for innovative thought leadership. She is also a member of the Americas Leadership Team.
Roselinde has been a long-term advisor to CEOs, senior executives, and Boards on issues of executive leadership, talent management, organization design, culture change, and large scale change implementation. She has consulted across a wide range of industries including consumer products, financial services, healthcare, industrial goods, retail, and technology.”
Given her expertise in the topic of leadership I was very interested to hear what makes a great leader, from her perspective. In the TED talk she says that she believes leadership is defined and evidenced by three questions:
- Where are you looking to anticipate change?
- What is the diversity measure of your network?
- Are you courageous enough to abandon the past?
The first question primarily deals with having foresight. Great leaders don’t react to situations; they think about and anticipate change and future events, and then act. Ms. Torres’s second question deals with a leaders ability to form relationships with people who are very different than them. According to Ms. Torres, great leaders understand that having a more diverse network can lead to better solutions, because a diverse network can bring in many new ideas. The third question is in regards to whether or not a leader is courageous enough to abandon a past practice (even a successful one), to try something new; to innovate. A great leader has the courage to take those risks, even in the face of being told that they are crazy to make such a change.
I’ll be posting later this week about some additional ideas I have regarding great leadership. In the meantime, feel free to comment below and let me know what you think it takes to be a great leader.