"Hold yourself responsible to a higher standard than anybody else expects of you. Never excuse yourself."
--Henry Ward Beecher

"The new leader is a facilitator, not an order giver."
--John Naisbitt

Volumes have been written about the MBA-driven attributes of top business leaders. You know these traits. These are the button-down, rigorously mandated strictures of executive leadership that every "proper" leader shall possess. Many companies train their executives in the firm's laws of leadership. These guidelines go something like this:

Responsibility, accountability and reliability.
Knowing the numbers and managing the bottom line.
Understanding goals, objectives and directives.
Delegation and administration of people and other resources.
People and business development.
Maneuvering in the operational realm.
Being a strategic and tactical manager.
Playing the political game.
But is there more than this neat list when it comes to leading others? Is there something that transcends what the B-school training and best-selling biz leadership books suggest?

I think there is. There's an art to leadership. Ineffable qualities that set the top leaders and managers apart. These executives have a knowing way, an intuitive manner, an inside sense of themselves that can't be found in the pages of textbooks and executive audiotapes.

They have inner qualities that also show well and play well on the outside. What are some of these?

The 15 Artful Sides Of The Complete Leader
1. Personal Integrity. Being a person to be trusted and admired.

2. Personal Courage. Standing up to bullies and negative forces for what is good and right.

3. Personal Consistency. Being the person at work who is also that way away from work.

4. Intellectual Rigor And Honesty. Deep scholarship combined with consistent arguments and reason.

5. Mental Toughness. Bouncing back from every adversity and daily speed bumps.

6. Focus And Concentration. Maintaining resolve and direction under pressure.

7. Personal Bearing. Upholding personal dignity and a sense of team humanity under trying conditions.

8. Command Presence. Soundly and calmly directing energies and people in the heat of battle.

9. Charisma And Star Quality. Having that certain something that makes people turn to see who just walked into the room.

10. Intuition And Gut Sensing. Trusting instincts and inklings about situations and people.

11. Personal Style And Flair. Cultivating and displaying a unique signature on everything.

12. Seasoned Judgment. Weighing multiple objective and subjective viewpoints in making decisions and charting courses.

13. Unique Communication Style. Building powerful ways of influencing others and of projecting self.

14. Story-Telling And Humorous Abilities. Transforming the organization with entertaining and instructive fables and creations that educate and enlighten.

15. Creative Problem-Solving and Exploration. Innovating means of resolving conflicts, conundrums, paradox and the unknown.

The artful leader takes leadership to the next level. This next arena is often untidy, unpredictable, challenging and ever-changing, yet exciting and satisfying.

The artful leader is a brave explorer.
The artful leader is a nuanced orchestrator.
The artful leader is a daring catalyst.
The artful leader is a clever synthesizer.
The artful leader is people-developer par excellence.
The artful leader is a gentle, caring human being.
The artful leader is a holistic renaissance person.
The artful leader is all this and more, because the artful leader is an ever-expanding self, growing and learning.

The artful leader is a work of art in motion. I leave you with one final thought.

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?"
--Martin Luther King, Jr.

Author's Bio: 

Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority on peak performance, mental toughness and coaching, is founder and CEO of Procoach Systems, a consulting firm that helps organizations and professionals achieve more success in business, life and sports. He is also the Founder and President of the International Mental Game Coaching Association (www.mentalgamecoaching.com), an organization dedicated to advancing the research, development, professionalism and growth of mental game coaching worldwide. He is a multiple Hall-Of-Fame honoree as an athlete, coach and school alumnus, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published book author and articles author, and has coached at the highest levels of major-league pro sports, big-time college athletics and corporate America. For a free, extensive article archive, or for questions and comments visit him at www.MentalGameCoach.com. You can call Procoach Systems toll free at 888-445-0291.