[Infographic] Six qualities of great leaders
Great leadership is always in high demand because the workplace is constantly presenting us with complex problems to solve. Also, we work in teams and we need to create cohesion and a sense of purpose. Some individuals are up to the task and others are not. However, the skill of leadership is not an innate one. Certainly there are individuals who exhibit strong leadership from an early age, but even in these cases, the skill is not fully formed. The person may be confident but lack consensus-building skills. So you have a leader that is not fully formed. This is actually where most of us are to one degree or another. In the infographic below we read about six essential leadership qualities according to the Eliv8 Group. They are vision, humility, self-awareness, integrity, commitment, and helping others.
Many of us, if not all of us, have the ability to lead. We need to start somewhere. If—using this paradigm as an example, we are self-aware and have strong integrity only, and then we know that we need to work on vision, humility and helping others. It doesn’t need to be all three at the same time. There are plenty of competent leaders out there that may have only four of these qualities and they are actively working on the fifth one. They’re still good leaders, working towards greatness. There are also great leaders who are ripe for giving back. They are looking for assertive, ambitious people whom to mentor. As part of practicing humility, you need to find these people within your organization or outside of it to help you plan out your roadmap towards effective, and maybe, great leadership one day.
How innovation is transforming government
According to Washington Technology’s Top 100 list, Leidos is the largest IT provider to the government. But as Lieutenant General William J. Bender explains, “that barely scratches the surface” of the company’s portfolio and drive for innovation.
Bender, who spent three and a half decades in the military, including a stint as the U.S. Air Force’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), has seen action in the field and in technology during that time, and it runs in the family. Bender’s son is an F-16 instructor pilot. So it stands to reason Bender Senior intends to ensure a thriving technological base for the U.S. Air Force. “What we’re really doing here is transforming the federal government from the industrial age into the information age and doing it hand-in-hand with industry,” he says.
The significant changes that have taken place in the wider technology world are precisely the capabilities Leidos is trying to pilot the U.S. Air Force through. It boils down to developing cyberspace as a new domain of battle, globally connected and constantly challenged by the threat of cybersecurity attacks.
“We recognize the importance of the U.S. Air Force’s missions,” says Bender, “and making sure they achieve those missions. We sit side-by-side with the air combat command, intelligence surveillance, and reconnaissance infrastructure across the Air Force. There are multiple large programs where the Air Force is partnering with Leidos to ensure their mission is successfully accomplished 24/7/365. In this company, we’re all in on making sure there’s no drop in capability.”
That partnership relies on a shared understanding of delivering successful national security outcomes, really understanding the mission at hand, and Leidos’ long-standing relationship of over 50 years with the federal government.
To look at where technology is going, Bender thinks it is important to look back at the last 10 to 15 years. “What we’ve seen is a complete shift in how technology gets developed,” he says. “It used to be that the government invested aggressively in research and development, and some of those technologies, once they were launched in a military context, would find their way into the commercial space. That has shifted almost a hundred percent now, where the bulk of the research and development dollars and the development of tech-explicit technologies takes place in the commercial sector.”
“There’s a long-standing desire to adopt commercial technology into defense applications, but it’s had a hard time crossing the ‘valley of death’ [government slang for commercial technologies and partnerships that fail to effectively transition into government missions]. Increasingly we’re able to do that. We need to look at open architectures and open systems for a true plug-and-play capability. Instead of buying it now and trying to guess what it’s going to be used for 12 years from now, it should be evolving iteratively.”