Being an inspirational leader like Steve Jobs or Starbucks’ Howard Schultz isn’t an easy task, but Bain Leadership has found that these two vastly different CEOs had one thing in common: Centeredness. Edited by Melissa Matthews writing for Inc.
The management consultancy identified 33 characteristics from a survey about what employees find most inspiring in others. The leaders mentioned in the survey had an array of traits people found admirable, but each focused on strengthening their four or five best qualities. This, according to James Allen of Bain Leadership, is really a result of being centered.
The concept of centeredness may sound a bit abstract, but the skill requires being fully present, which in turn helps you manage stressful situations with ease. Instead of giving canned answers, difficult questions are handled with a sense of purpose, says Allen in The Wall Street Journal. He is co-leader of the global strategy practice at Bain & Co. and co-author of The Founder’s Mentality.
Allen cites Jobs and Schultz as two model CEOs. Their styles differed vastly–Jobs was known for brutal honesty while Schultz is a little more sensitive–but each were genuine and utilized their unique skills. This could not have been done without the ability to stay centered.
It’s not easy to remain cool under pressure and many leaders often choose a practical, cognitive method. But Allen finds a more spiritual approach using physical and mental mental exercises, like controlled breathing, helps leaders stay centered and brings out their best attributes. Sure, it might sound a little hippy for the workplace, but this practice can be the difference between an inspiring environment that innovates and one that merely succeeds.