Ready to lead the pack?
Wondering how to get ahead in your career?
Developing your leadership skills is a great place to start.
According to Business Dictionary, the leadership definition is: “The activity of leading a group of people or an organization or the ability to do this.”
But, leadership requires quite a few things. So, which leadership qualities should you focus on?
ou can take some pointers from some of history’s great leaders.
During the Renaissance, Baldassare Castiglione wrote a book that has some great teachings for today’s high potentials and entrepreneurs. The Book of the Courtier was a primer to learn best practices on how to successfully support the ruler, who we now call “the boss.”
Back in the day, in Italy, there was a lot of intrigue, drama, ambition, and backstabbing. Machiavelli’s The Prince shows an in-depth look at the daily behavior of those times.
Actually, it was not so different from much of what we see in modern companies where the desire to be the favorite and to be recognized as the best, means doing whatever it takes. It is, as they say, simply part of human nature.
But, in learning how to be a leader in this modern age, there are better, powerful, and more positive ways to get ahead. This goes way beyond making poor excuses, being a total jerk, and saying that the end always justifies the means.
One such way to brush up your leadership skills is by practicing the art of “sprezzatura”, which translates to “studied carelessness”. It is described as “the ability to display an easy facility in accomplishing difficult actions which hide the conscious effort that went into them.” In other words, you’ll be able to get things done like a boss without looking like it was difficult at all. This was one of the most important characteristics of a leader during that time.
At the time of Raphael and Michelangelo, the ideal courtier (now known as a VP) was one who had the ear of the main guy. In those days he (yes, then it was always a “he”) had to be highly skilled in athletic events, military maneuvers, and also talented in music and dancing.
Think of this as someone who could win a Medieval Grammy.
Castiglione talked about one universal truth that is as valid today as it was back then: You have to know how to sell, how to market yourself, and how to put on an amazing performance for your peers.
And that is where sprezzatura comes in. It is the ability to create an impression that you have totally mastered the role you play; that you have studied and mastered the art of making the difficult look effortless (one of the many important qualities of a leader.)
So, how can you determine if you have the leadership qualities and leadership skills to boss up? Ask yourself these questions:
Have you learned the power of right timing? That moment you can show off your abilities without being a show-off?
Can you offer creative suggestions? Do you have the ability to jump in with a sudden burst of inspiration, contributing to the team with the excitement of an “aha” moment that is exactly what is needed to connect all the brainstorming?
Are you aware of what pushes your buttons so you are in charge of how you respond, not letting the one(s) who annoy you throw you off kilter?
Do you connect with others so they respect and acknowledge you?
Have you put into action mastering the art of self- awareness?
Do you have teachers who have exemplified sprezzatura, who have inspired you to be the best you can be?
Now, just a moment on the downside of this powerful quality: Once you have worked diligently to become a master, you will become the target of many who are jealous.
The procrastinators, the bullies, and the splitters will watch you and your leadership skills with suspicion. Be aware and be ready to answer their treachery, not with attack. Do so with kindness and appreciation. The true sprezzatura specialists stand above the fray.,
To become one of the great leaders at your job will take time. And once you have mastered the essence of making the difficult seem easy, the essence of sprezzatura, you will become someone with true charisma. Then you’re unstoppable, a positive force to be reckoned with.