Alignment. Awareness. Connection.

What words capture the essence of quiescent leadership? Three words come to mind: alignment, awareness, and connection. Each of these contain action and thought, and each requires emotional intelligence. Here are some brief thoughts on these leadership traits–traits I believe characterize every leader regardless of how much the leader realizes these traits.

Alignment is, in my mind, the fundamental duty of a leader.  A leader is akin to a magnet, and people around you are attracted and repelled at varying degrees depending on the direction you yourself are going. Just as the positive and negative poles of a magnet repel and attract, a leader has the ability to pull people into a vision or idea or task, as well as to push people away and into something else. Neither of these actions is entirely good or bad. A leader should be aware of this principle and use both the power of attracting and repelling to align people to do the most good and to benefit people in their own journey.

Awareness is not only something a leader strives for, but also something a leader brings to a team. Being aware of people, events, and other knowledge is essential for a leader. Even more important is making other people aware of these things. The ways a leader raises the level of awareness tells a lot about the leader. For example, the quality of accountability is often directly related to the quality of awareness raised by the leader. Accountability begins with being made aware of issues, challenges, and potential pitfalls.

Connection is critical to being able to lead with calm. Isolation is perhaps the great enemy of good leadership. While a leader is aided by personal connections, the quality of a leader is often tied to how well the leader connects the team with other teams, and how well the team is internally connected with each other. Many times a leader is not doing the work to accomplish something but instead is connecting the right people to work together.