“To be an effective leader, whether of an orchestra, nonprofit, city council, or country, you must possess confidence, strength, and assuredness. After all, if you’re the one making decisions that impact other people in the short- and long-term, you need to offer assurances that you have what it takes to achieve the mission, steer the ship out of danger, and make radical changes when required to do so.
“Yet the best leaders are those who understand that such gravitas must be balanced with another essential, humility. Not in the sense of devaluing one’s own importance, but in one’s ability to know when help is necessary, and to seek guidance for the benefit of the organization and mission. Effective leaders recognize their limitations and see themselves as continuous learners, accepting that self-evaluation and improvement are requirements of a job well done.” (Graciela Briceno, Managing Editor, The World Ensemble, an offshoot of the Venezuelan El Sistema music system, 1 February 2019).
I would add: a calm, not a volatile, disposition, plus a sense of humour. A laugh and a giggle have a magical way of dispelling tension. Actually, the ability to be light-hearted and to tell a good joke (and the sense to know when these are appropriate!) are both extraordinarily helpful abilities in dealing with staff and customers. They don’t tell you this in the rather serious-minded world of business schools, and you probably couldn’t teach it anyway.