The Antifragile Traits of Great Leaders

The Antifragile Traits of Great Leaders

The question that I am addressing is are the traits of great leaders the same in old times as they are in modern times? Are these traits fixed or do they change by the prevailing conditions?

Our times are packed with rapid changes. A river changes its direction when its volume of water increases, so its acceleration and momentum leading to the river changing its direction. Wind changes its direction depending on many factors. Should an authentic leader change direction be depending on circumstances? Does changing direction require having attributes different from those leaders who face no such issue?

We talk about extraordinary leaders and what are their traits? What makes them extraordinary. So many questions to think about. This is an attempt to address them. Great leaders have vision and they know where to go. Having led people on a course would they be ready to change their vision should circumstances change? Or, they will resist change and continue on same course?

Some of leaders’ traits will not diminish with time such as their ability to influence others. They run the risk that this influence shall erode if the leaders decide it is time to change direction. I believe leaders in our rapidly-changing times need to be antifragile. Not only they are able to cope with the stress of change; more to appear stronger after the storm. Because these leaders emerge stronger they have the ability to still communicate to their followers and convince them of the need to change. Some traits need to be antifragile as well. For example, the sphere of influence can scale up from his team up to influencing the world without fading over time. There are leaders that we still quote and we feel their influence has not eroded over years. Great leaders are great influencers over time. Because of their great influence they keep people together even in times of turbulences and changing directions.

Extraordinary leaders accept the tension of rapid change and this tension makes them stronger. These leaders know how to be creative under tension. Stressed people lose their creativity; in contrast great leaders make use of this tension and may come up with creative ways to influence other and keep them glued to each other. The greater the change is, the stronger these leaders are and the more creative they become.

Great leaders are not afraid to change direction. Kodak lost its market because it didn’t shift to electronic cameras. The stress of change and the lack of accepting change made a very successful company go out of market. Great leaders stand the stress of change and are able to go with nature as the wind of change changes the direction of a business. But not all leaders have the communication skills to convince others for the need to change direction. In turbulent times being able to persuade others without causing conflict is a trait that is becoming increasingly evident.

It is evident from the above discussion that great leaders will have to take risks and convert them to opportunities. The risk is constantly on the rise. New technologies appear rapidly and many products are doomed to disappear from the market. The risk of change is increasing and I believe great leaders know well how to deal with risk.

Great leaders who have their influence still felt after long times have the traits that make leadership a lasting one and isn’t blown away by the wind of change.

Do you think that the traits of great leaders of the past are the same traits of great leaders today?


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Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#42
I am comfortable with your comment Harvey Lloyd

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#41
I love your daring comment Milos Djukic and I appreciate it greatly. It is equally provocative in a good way. Right from the beginning you arose my interest "Leadership is not about getting people to understand and believe in your vision and to work with you to achieve your goals". I paused on this before I could comment to think. Leaders lead others. Leads them towards what? This is a great question. If they were leading themselves then they by discovery or by serendipity you may run across great discoveries. In doing research this is a great possibility because the research team will be focused on discovering and they are aware there work is exploratory in nature. In organization where there are many team members with different interests what would keep them together? What is the glue other than having a common goal? I am still thinking...

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#40
I add to your excellent comment Franci\ud83d\udc1dEugenia Hoffman, beBee Brand Ambassador leaders who find the fault remedy it. Sometimes not knowing the real fault will make the remedy useless.

Harvey Lloyd

Harvey Lloyd

3 years ago #36

#41
I enjoyed your comment here. I would add that leaders are first humans satisfying some motivational need they require. Both intrinsically and extrinsically. One of the 1st Principals is recognizing that each person is doing the same thing. Regardless of position. Organizing these motivational needs is where leaders are made and broken. Each person requires what they need from the organization.

Milos Djukic

Milos Djukic

3 years ago #35

Leadership is not about getting people to understand and believe in your vision and to work with you to achieve your goals. Under the leadership of such leaders the most beautiful and also some ugliest - the most tragic episodes in history have happened. Leadership is about social influence, mutual support and organizing of people in order to achieve a common goal. Yet, common goals can be very different: correct or incorrect, very material and social, but also immaterial (spiritual). It's a sort of uplifting of thoughts. Leaders and followers mutually inspire each other. It is intertwining of respect. A good leader does not have to be a good man who contributed to the well-being of mankind. It all depends on the goals and realization of leadership. Sometimes, promising "New heights" are quite low at the end, the same goes for leadership. Leadership are ideas and questions. Kant teach us that some answers lies beyond capacities of human finite mind. We have a lot of answers and less questions. We can not give a clear unambiguous answer for a range of different questions, both simple and complex questions. Good question is what will remain over time because of its greatness. Some of the greatest human discoveries and breakthroughs were the results of passionate intellectual engagements of a large number of extremely dedicated people. Great leaders asked questions and also asked for answers. Unfortunately, the awareness of power, very often produces some degree of blindness. Then, a prominent leader, becomes incomprehensible, first to himself and then to all others. This is a classic trap from which it is difficult to find the right exit. Glory and respect should be above the mist or any kind of mystification. First of all, it is a great responsibility. Future leadership is about social complexity with a growing trend of social encounters and exchanges. All text Copyright Β© 2014-2018 by Milos Djukic - All Rights Reserved

Franci 🐝Eugenia Hoffman, beBee Brand Ambassador

An excellent thought-provoking piece on leadership, Ali \ud83d\udc1d Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee. Back in the day one of my managers was a fan of this simple quote, which stuck with me- "Don't find the fault, find the remedy" - Henry Ford

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#38
I am elevated by your comment dear . * appreciate your sharing the buzz as well. I published a buzz following on this one. I hope they both register with you

🐝 Fatima G. Williams

🐝 Fatima G. Williams

3 years ago #32

Such an extraordinary thought-provoking buzz dear Ali \ud83d\udc1d Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee Such great thoughts on the true essence of leadership.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#36
There is a common quote that it is more important to reduce risk than making profits. Survival is a strong glue for people to work for survival. Focusing on profits may lead to greed and competition. However; I take your point seriously Joanne Gardocki need time to fully absorb.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#32
You said it perfectly well Randall Burns. Your comment is a gem. I invite you to write a buzz to explore in more depth the value of your comment.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#27
Thank you CityVP \ud83d\udc1d Manjit mentioned in his comment #23 the innate skills and experiences of leaders are to be aligned. The complexity requires leaders who allow for interactions among team members so that they may find the strengths and desires of each member. The leaders' role is to create the environment to allow for the free flow of info and the exchange of thoughts. This will allow teams to self-organize around a common goal with each team member doing what he desires and is skillful in doing.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#26
Joanne Gardocki. The name of the game for me is leaders who create the environment for people to interact and self-organize. The leader know the shift in his/her role in modern times and its complexity., Too many interactions lead to complexity because of the tremendous opportunity for interacting. The leader who realizes these changes know will be aware that the best for work is to let teams have their own say. The leader will be watching from distance and suggesting whenever a need arises.

Randall Burns

Randall Burns

3 years ago #27

#29
I absolutely agree Ali \ud83d\udc1d Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee That's what differentiates a "Leader" from a tyrant/dictator. my point was that even with all the resources, support that a leader has the very weight of them, of the "responsibility" can be overwhelming. This is where the "anti-fragile" traits are so important; a "leader" has the ability to carry all this "weight" and still be "light on his feet", make split second decisions, take feedback humbly and intelligently all with a smile and no worry on his face.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#24
Joanne Gardocki- your subtle comment made me pause while reading it. One observation is your writing " If we compile a list of extraordinary leaders in history, the vast majority are associated with war". Even the best book about leaders are leaders during wars. There is a reason. Survival need makes make it much easier for leaders to unite people and form a floating raft so that people wouldn't sink in the waters of trouble. We have different survival issues these days. Looking at statistics and the number of falling companies make it clear that survival is an issue. I believe that it is the failure of some leaders to highlight the survival issue to the employees that keeps those people from following the survival goal. If so, again persuasion ability is a major traits of great leaders.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#23
y question is that not all experiences are the same and some leaders have been gaining the same experience. They say they listen, but do they actually do? The listening ability, and I mean genuine listening, is one of the great traits of leaders because they benefit from feedback. If all leaders were listening then why don't we have that many great leaders?

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#22
I agree on one condition- that the leader is ready to accept feedback. Having the resources is one thing; using them probably is another. Do you agree Randall Burns

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#21
Bill King- You remind me of the birds' flocks. When the leading bird gets tired because it has no bird above it to flap the air and reduce air pressure that makes the below below exert 78% less flying effort and becomes too exhausted to lead it voluntarily slips back and another bird takes the leading role. This is a Natural Leadership that goes with nature and not against it. I therefore agree in full with your comment.

CityVP Manjit

CityVP Manjit

3 years ago #22

There is a great change in leadership and it does show up in the networked world where collaboration exists, but that does not mean that most of the leadership practiced today equates with that. The point you made about bringing the OODA Loop into the discussion provides a door of perception that the military forces like the Marines have already walked through abandoning that 20th Century mindset. Churchill did some terrible things as a leader but they get whitewashed by the side who write that history. Dr Sashi Tharoor is one of India's current bright minds and he shines a different light on Churchill https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/world-history/winston-churchill-genocide-dictator-shashi-tharoor-melbourne-writers-festival-a7936141.html There is nothing adaptive about making textbook generalizations about leadership or whatever mythological subject that has been cast through its most favorable light. What makes leadership more adaptive today is that we are now all holding a spotlight on leadership in a manner that does not compare with the annals of history. Even Gandhi gets put under this spotlight as this opinion piece in Digital Journal attests http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/321957 This is not about rewriting history because history is plagued with revisionism, this is about our collective abilities to look inside what to date has been a mythological labyrinth. To be an adaptive leader one must question the very precepts we considered to be sacred and infallible - and when we do that we discover the infallibility that still maintains itself today. I agree with Gert Scholtz that leadership is situational in increasingly contextual times - but we are still surrounded by 20th Century leaders - so this change is clouded by that presence.

Jerry Fletcher

Jerry Fletcher

3 years ago #21

Some believe that leaders can be made. Others believe that leaders are born. I believe that leaders are a combination of both. Innate skills combined with experience give humans, male or female, the ability for developing themselves to building the skills of those around them. Add to that a goal, achievable only by a group of people headed the same way and you have a prescription for a great leader. If the leader is essentially good, you get a Ghandi. If evil the world must endure a Hitler. Do leaders have the same skills as they did in earlier times. Yes, but their visibility is harder to bring into focus in these days of phony news.

Randall Burns

Randall Burns

3 years ago #20

#17
Great comment I totally understand your point about stress but it boils down to a personal strategy for dealing with it, (that's probably what differentiates a great leader from a mediocre one) . Here's something that is applicable that you might appreciate; https://www.bebee.com/producer/@randall-burns/stress-the-dynamics-in-a-professional-kitchen Agreed that a "Leader" has more resources to draw upon for support but by the same token it is a "double edged sword" in that it is more responsibility to be encumbered with. Again it comes down to the personal action/reaction of each individual person and while your sentiment of; "... In short, with all of these resources at hand, providing them with ideas, advice and guidance, it seems to me it's far easier for them to incorporate a few of the ideas these resources provide. Which, no doubt, will improve a leader's ability to access their creativity, to utilize it move forward..." ...seems logical and straightforward, that is not always the case.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#19
Egoism and selfishness are the characters of leaders who are not. Yes, John Rylance you highlight a very important trait of leaders who have influenced our lives purposefully. They didn't say we did it ourselves; rather my collaborators did. In spite of this people still remember them for they acted in a manner that very few people can do. Yes, leaders of the past are still living with us for they were and are still genuine leaders.

John Rylance

John Rylance

3 years ago #18

In answer to the question posed re. past and present leaders. If it is agreed that these two quotes by Lao Tzu. A leader is best , when people barely know he exists, when his work is done his aim fulfilled, they will say we did it ourselves. A quote widened into this-: The wicked leader is he who the people despise. The good leader is he who people revere. The great leader is he who the people say We did it ourselves. Are as relevant today as when thy were originally written, then little has changed. It's not just having the leadership skills it's how you use them. Looking back on all the good leaders I have known, I feel they would be good I n today's world. So much that we know about what makes a good leader is based on the good leaders of the past.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#17
Again, your comment I consider is a beautiful prelude to my next buzz. Let me leak some information. Not only volcanoes and earthquakes follow the power law. Ideas, leaders and many other human complex systems again follow the same law. By this I mean there are few devastating earthquakes, some average ones and mostly unnoticeable ones. Leaders follow the same token. Few are extraordinary, some are average and mostly leaders by title. Those extraordinary leaders have a unique trait- they care to get feedback and welcome criticism. We have leaders who genuinely seek feedback and then bear the accountability of their decisions. If not, why extraordinary leaders are the exception rather than the rule. Seeking feedback with genuine desire to learn, collect idea and info before making decisions are not practiced equally by all leaders. Many leaders as soon as they hear criticism they turn again the person. I wonder how many great leaders have you met in your life. The power of leadership is to melt all ideas so that their magma would erupt the disruptive ideas. You make me think. If all leaders were to pay attention to the feedback of their staff would they feel isolated, disengaged or unhappy? Who is responsible for stressing them?

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#14
The complexity of leadership traits originate possible because of the interactions of these traits and how they feedback to each other. In my next buzz I am going to handle this complexity. Yes, character is a crucial trait. I recall my post on LI titled Character Quotient and the need to understand character more than understanding IQ or EQ (Intelligence Quotient and emotional quotient) respectively. Thank you for bringing this issue to light.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#14
The complexity of leadership traits originate possible because of the interactions of these traits and how they feedback to each other. In my next buzz I am going to handle this complexity. Yes, character is a crucial trait. I recall my post on LI titled Character Quotient and the need to understand character more than understanding IQ or EQ (Intelligence Quotient and emotional Wuotient) respectively. Thank you for bringing this issue to light.

Mohammed Abdul Jawad

Mohammed Abdul Jawad

3 years ago #14

Undoubtedly, there are countless leadership traits that can be listed, but of all, I presume that excellent character ranks on the top. Without right behavior, what's the use of authority, expertise or intellect?

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#11
Gert Scholtz- your extension of the meaning of extraordinary leaders is fabulous. Yes, for those leaders know staying in the comfort zone is not the way to go. Hence, I believe strongly that tension thinking is a field that needs more attention and merits more discussions. Situational leadership is a widely accepted and this is important when the situation calls for immediate decisions. You are tension-seeker my friend.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#9
I love your analogy dear Debasish Majumder. You are very correct. This is why say that few leaders stand the test of time because they can evolve. Adaptation to the forced external conditions and their tension make great leaders stronger than they were before. Thank you also for sharing the buzz my friend.

Gert Scholtz

Gert Scholtz

3 years ago #11

Ali \ud83d\udc1d Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee A thought provoking post Ali, thank you for posting. Are leaders different today than years ago? I think there are as many different theories of leadership as there are leaders. But I do think leadership is based very much on the situation. And from there, in essence, true leaders find the status quo stressful, and seek change to alleviate their dissatisfaction with how things are. You say in the post: β€œExtraordinary leaders accept the tension of rapid change and this tension makes them stronger.” I would state it slightly differently: Extraordinary leaders actively seek the tension of rapid change, and this tension is what they thrive on.

Gert Scholtz

Gert Scholtz

3 years ago #10

Ali \ud83d\udc1d Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee A thought provoking post Ali, thank you. Are leaders different today than years ago? I think there are as many different theories of leadership as there are leaders. But I do think leadership is based very much on the situation. And from there, in essence, true leaders find the status quo stressful, and seek change to alleviate their dissatisfaction with how things are. You say in the post: β€œExtraordinary leaders accept the tension of rapid change and this tension makes them stronger.” I would state it slightly differently: Extraordinary leaders actively seek the tension of rapid change, and this tension is what they thrive on.”

Debasish Majumder

Debasish Majumder

3 years ago #9

traits are abstract in nature and like other natural phenomenon, it too changed according to the available circumstances, failing to do so may lead one to oblivion. but, i guess, the interesting feature of trait is, it contain from its inception the quality to adapt with the external situation and external and internal, both makes the change favorable to adapt. they are like distinct species and every many are evolving while plenty are extincting. however, Great buzz sir Ali \ud83d\udc1d Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee! enjoyed read and shared. thank you for the buzz sir.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#7
We have many things in common between us Randall Burns. The Art of War is a book that shows why Sun Tzu is a leading writer and strategist. He wrote a book that stands out after so many years. It keeps influencing us, persuading us and guiding our thinking. Its extrapolation to other fields such as businesses shows its impact on the generations. You remind me of Boyd's OODA Loop. Yes, and the question is what makes some leaders take a split-second decisions and others decide not. Quick changes require alert minds. and daring minds.

Randall Burns

Randall Burns

3 years ago #7

#5
Thank You Ali \ud83d\udc1d Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee! That is one my favorite books that I keep on my shelf and pass out to anyone and everyone, especially my staff, (it sits right next to Herman Hesse's "Siddhartha"). "Rate of change" comes down to a matter of perspective, yes we are going through changes at a dramatically accelerated rate, or so it seems. In another time and another place a "Leader" would have to make split second decisions with many lives at stake on the battlefield where changes are happening quickly as well as well. I must state here that I am very anti-war but I think this example is applicable. Another favorite book that sits on the same shelf is Sun Tzu's "Art of War". I'm sure that you're familiar with it. It is a great philosophical/strategic tome and one of the greatest leadership lessons in it is that the best general/leader will never actually have to fight; "The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without a fight"

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#3
Antifragility is a term that Nassem Taleb coined. My contribution here is to use his term in figuring out what are the antifragile traits of great leaders. Some traits must be antifragile so that we may have an antifragile leader.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#2
Thank you Randall Burns for your great comment @quote of who are the leaders. Yes, influencing self isn't enough; more it is convincing others. You remind me of Jonathan's Seagull. It was enough for the leader seagull to fly higher; more important for him was to persuade others to fly higher and discover the world in more depth. Exactly, leaders have always met change challenges. May be today the rate of change is much greater and that is why great leaders must have antifragility. ave the traits that make them stand for the test of change.

Ali 🐝 Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee

#1
Very bold perspective Pascal Derrien. Great thinkers aren't necessarily great leaders. One big difference for me is their influence over time and if it decays or not. Their influence and persuasion will continue to live with us. Some great thinkers lack these traits. So, basically I agree with you.

Randall Burns

Randall Burns

3 years ago #3

P.S. Love your term of "Anti Fragile". Perfect application here

Randall Burns

Randall Burns

3 years ago #2

Great discussion Ali \ud83d\udc1d Anani, Brand Ambassador @beBee I agree with your sentiments regarding what the traits of a good leader are and I believe them to be consistent throughout history. Granted the "specific knowledge" of each era/age is different and a successful leader must be knowledgeable and "skilled" for the times; BUT regardless of what era is referred to Leaders have always been challenged with changes, developments, advancements etc. Leaders have always needed to be visionaries to anticipate and react, to, as you say, "change direction", not only for themselves but also their followers; and not just in their own best interest but in everyone's best interest around them. Here's a great quote by John Quincy Adams that illustrates an example of a good leader, A great leader can change direction and his followers will do the same easily; "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more; you are a leader" i think this sentiment is timeless.

Pascal Derrien

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #1

A big difference between leaders and EXTRAORDINARY leaders, there is a BIG culture and fan behaviour about leaders that did not exist let say 30 years ago. I personally don't think Steve Jobs for example was an extraordinary leader he was a great industrial mind and business man but frankly I cannot put him in the same category that say MLK, Churchill.......

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