Legal Eagle Angelia Wesch of Oles Morrison Rinker & Baker Embraces Change, Good Advice and Fearlessness
Wed Apr 1, 2020
What are the most important characteristics of a good leader and what leadership traits are overrated? Patience, ability to listen and flexibility are key traits that all good leaders must possess to effectuate any meaningful change in their organizations. Our current times provide far too many examples of poor leadership styles and traits, but not enough inspirational examples of other women doing what comes naturally to them ― leading instinctively, with both patience and persistence.
While persistence is a valuable leadership trait, it can veer off to become inflexibility when people stop listening to each other’s ideas and stop welcoming that exchange. Leaders who are fearful of the uncomfortable space that change can expose are often ineffective leaders, so I would describe being “driven” as an overrated leadership trait. In my experience, sometimes the most driven leaders are also the least inspirational. They often lack balance, empathy and are not self-aware in their insistent pursuit to conform an organization to their Ideal.
In my experience, the most effective leaders are not always the smartest people in the room in terms of measurable IQ. Some ineffective leaders, despite their infinite intelligence, cannot seem to motivate others to bring their best selves to work. The flip side of this, of course, would be those leaders who with humility manage to instill loyalty and great passion in their teams, even though the leaders themselves may not be experts at everything. A strong leader is able to graciously “own” their lack of knowledge about a particular subject or issue and are comfortably asking questions and seeking out recommendations from those people who make the organization successful.
As a woman, what is the most significant barrier to becoming a leader? Time. Plain and simple. Women often take on too much, all at once, with a fierce perfectionist streak that ensures the product will be perfect, but the human delivering such a product ends up drained and unsure about whether the end really does justify the means. A lesser barrier is the lack of true mentors and internal champions in positions of power within organizations to provide the support for other women to seek out leadership roles.
Read the full interview on Seattle Business.