What makes a successful leader?

Take a hard look at any successful business and an effective leader likely comes to the surface. While leadership can often be confused with a number of different qualities, effective leadership leaves no doubt in the minds of employees and customers. Everyone walks away from a discussion believing that an impact was made. However, great leaders inspire awareness in order to stimulate new ideas and generate questions on the status quo. Looking for solutions to questions that have not yet been presented is just one of the ways to stay in front of the curve.
Experience
One of the keys to effectively leading a group of people to a common goal, which is essentially what a successful business or organization does is experience. Robert Rosenkranz is CEO of Delphi Financial Group, which has close to $10 billion in assets. He is a summa cum laude graduate of Yale, serves on the board of the Manhattan Institute, and sits on the Council of Foreign Relations. In short, the guy knows what he is talking about, and knows a thing or two about communicating his thoughts clearly and efficiently. When it comes to experience, he definitely falls into the upper end of the spectrum and is a great example of having what it takes to lead.
Innovation
In order to be the head of any type of organization, adopting a new thought process often plays a major role. The Rosenkranz Foundation exists to encourage fresh perspectives, which underscores the dedication of the man behind the organization. One particular contribution of the foundation is the Intelligence Squared Debate Series, which airs on National Public Radio. The series brings together other leaders and innovators to discuss public policy and different cultural issues. In the end, the entire process is dedicated to looking at all the available points of view on a subject. Whether the audience agrees or disagrees is of little consequence, because having the discussion is what matters.
Being Open to Change
Too often organizations stand still. Fear of change is a pretty natural thing, and top notch executives understand that fact. While everyone can not operate a foundation that exists to bring topics to light and inspire change through policy and education like Rosenkranz, effective leaders listen to what others have to say. Discussion takes place, and once some common ground is found, some sort of change can be discovered. In actuality, the process is simple, but it takes dedication, perseverance, and desire. Taking anything to the next level and keeping thought processes relevant to current trends is a task that not everyone is up to. For this reason, successful leaders that are open to doing anything in a different way and uncovering a better method tend to rise to the top.
In the end, effective leadership is the combination of experience, innovation, being open to change, and a host of intangible assets. Solving problems is one thing, but uncovering opportunities that might not be easy to see is the hallmark of making an impact. Discussing change and acting on those discussions to produce tangible results that can improve policies and decisions separates the average from the extraordinary. Succeeding in these positions for a short period of time is one thing, but maintaining a key role in several organizations takes something more

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