You have worked hard, but that position you desire seems out of reach. You know you have the technical competency—your mind may even be brilliant—but somehow there’s something that makes other people feel like you’re “not quite there yet.” At the same time, you’ve seen others who progress faster and people say that they are “leadership material.”
So what exactly is leadership material?
As a leader or a manger, you are expected to inspire trust and competence, make sound decisions and earn the respect of your team; you are also expected to handle difficult situations and personalities and bring out the best in people. In other words, you must demonstrate your strength, and at the same time your ability to motivate, inspire, relate and connect with others.
The combination of the two qualities is what is often called charisma, presence, grace, or personal magnetism.
In the Chinese language, those two qualities are the Yin and Yang quality. People with these two qualities are “whole” leaders; they are the most effective and most transformative.
The Yang quality is the commander-in-chief quality. You are action-oriented and accountable, you make things happen, you see the big picture, and you don’t let anything get in your way. You have that vision, and you do what it takes to get there.
The Yin quality is like water in the river; it goes with the flow. It understands the way of being and the virtue of patience. It is the softer approach: flexible, sharing and giving. It respects the law of nature and value the perseveration of energy. It says, “I’ve done my best and now I am going to rest.”
If you’d like to have more Yang quality, which is to create that high-confidence, high-status, respectful leader image, you can work on your body language and appearance to make you look the part as a leader; you can also learn to speak the language of inspiration and trust-building; and you can learn how to access your most confident self to accomplish your goals.
In contrast, if you’d like to have more Yin quality, which is to build a more heartfelt, likable leader persona, you can learn how to convey your friendly and caring nature.
When you find yourself not getting into the next position, think about whether you lack a balance of these two charismatic leadership characteristics, and work toward strengthening those muscles and demonstrating those qualities. By doing so, you will be perceived as the leader you are.
The next time an opportunity arises, people will say, “You’re the one.” With such confidence and conviction as you’ve never had before, you’ll know you ARE the one.