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Thoughts on Leadership from the MBA Bootcamp

February 23, 2012

On Day 1 of the MBA Sustainability Bootcamp produced by The Natural Step, the group of 25+ MBAs from across Canada brainstormed the qualities of good leaders.  There were lots of ideas, but many converged; what I did was take the six or so flipcharts from the group tables and compiled the ideas into two pictograms.  So here are those group ideas (click on the link to see the image):

Leadership Qualities Pictogram 1

The first pictogram is centred on the idea that leaders take the first step; they demonstrate courage, perhaps some charisma, and people want to follow them either by the strength of their ideas or their personal brand.  Leaders are open to new ideas and both listen to people and hear what they are saying — a subtle difference and part of being a skilled communicator.  Leaders set examples and display leadership at all levels of the organization…you don’t need to have a leadership title to be a leader. (Click on the link below to see the image)

Leadership Qualities Pictogram 2

This pictogram echoes some of the same ideas as in the first, but diverges into other themes.  This pictogram is centred around the idea of leadership as being a journey; a road cuts through the centre of the picture, not acting as a barrier, but as a path.  The idea of leadership as a journey is strengthened with the addition of the moral and strategic compass.  A leader is also a risk taker, represented by the roulette wheel, and is courageous enough to challenge the status quo (the STOP sign).  Not to emphasize the gambling theme, but the hand of cards symbolizes someone with the skills and knowledge that make it possible to decide when to persevere through hard times or when to cut losses to minimize damage.  This leader is not threatened by others, but helps them grow.

Many MBA’s will reach leadership positions in their organizations…maybe in your organization.  Isn’t it good to realize that they think about leadership and sustainability in meaningful ways?  I think so.

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