Blog: Idea Champions Make Great Leaders



 

What sets a great leader apart from a good leader?  We know it is not title and not even experience.  Leaders who reach the summit level of leadership either through their title or their own personal development (should be a combination of both) will have mastered all of the other levels of leadership competencies.  Competencies such as:

·    integrity

·    emotional intelligence

·    ownership mindset

·    outstanding communicator

·    relationship management

·    confidence

·    advanced people skills

·    critical thinking

·    change agent

·    business acumen

·    executive presence and

·    community focus

With this extensive list…. What skills are left to develop at the top?  To reach the peak of leadership competencies a leader should live a life that demonstrates:

·    authenticity

·    a belief in and a champion of people

·    a visionary leader

·     idea champion

Let’s focus on the competency of being an “idea champion.”


 

What does it mean to be an idea champion?  At alpine and summit approach levels of the MSBC leadership maturity model it is important for a leader to be innovative and know how to present, persuade and generate energy around the ideas they bring to the table.  When a leader climbs to the summit, they need to know how to lead others to birth ideas.  Walter Lippman once said, “When we all think alike, then no one is thinking.” The leader who is an idea champion encourages others, is inspired by ideas and is not threatened by different ways of thinking.   

An idea champion is a leader who:

·    listens for opportunities and possibilities

·    is open to ideas from anywhere - even in the most unusual places or individuals

·    creates a safe space for people to share their ideas 

·    listens with an open mind

·    does something with the ideas

·    knows when to fight, support, defend or even let go of an idea

·    is curious

·    innovative

·    will take calculated risks

If you are looking to move from idea generator to idea champion, I encourage you to walk through this list, work with a mentor who is good at championing ideas, hire a coach, create a plan and take the step/s to become a leader who champions the ideas of others.  “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – Lao Tzu.  The more you practice, the better you will become at being an idea champion for your organization.  

 

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