Excerpts from article by Bradley Stewart, president and CEO at XOJET, which appeared on LinkedIn’s Leadership & Management series, July 24, 2015:

The opportunity to lead is an incredible privilege. I am fortunate to lead XOJET, one of the largest private jet companies in North America.  

The essence of leadership for me is to work toward making the world a better place, whether through an organization or by impacting just one person.   
 
The most impactful leaders seem to share a similar mindset across each of the following: 1) sense of self, 2) situational awareness and 3) stewardship commitment. 

Sense of self
The best leaders are self-aware and self-actualized – and they are good human beings. Knowing oneself means being aware of and comfortable with desires and motivations, strengths and weaknesses. Being open and vulnerable is also important. Such awareness goes far when asking for someone’s confidence and their followership. People who can’t lead themselves will not be successful leading others. 

Situational awareness
The best leaders understand the context of their surroundings and possess a clear understanding of how the game is played.  

Goals should carefully integrate the current situation and the broader environment, as well as the attributes of a specific organization – they must also be actionable and achievable.  

Great leaders consistently highlight and capture opportunities, while deftly pivoting away from threats.  

Vision is often cited as the hallmark of a great leader. And I agree. But, I also believe that great vision is most often the output – the results that we ultimately see – of a behind-the-scenes process that depends heavily on situational awareness and strong conceptual thinking. 

Stewardship commitment
The best leaders care deeply about people and about the success of the organizations they serve. In business, this responsibility has become increasingly important over the last several decades as modern companies act more and more like towns and villages from long ago, essentially becoming one of the foundational institutions of our society. And just like town mayors and community elders long ago, today’s business leaders have a responsibility to make employees and clients feel cared for, supported and respected.  

Performance orientation and continuous improvement are cultural hallmarks of winning companies. People will work harder and smarter if they think that what they do matters to others and is connected to a higher purpose. Plus, winning is a lot more fun than losing.

Communication needs to be a true passion for all leaders. I personally feel that the term “evangelism” better describes the need for leaders to communicate – to evangelize a company’s mission, its purpose, its priorities and the path to winning.  

Final thought
Leadership is exciting and fun. It is also challenging and hard. But at the end of the day, it can be pretty simple: 1) develop a great sense of self, 2) understand the environment and have a plan and 3) accept the responsibility of stewardship – perform and communicate.   

As we say at XOJET, “we are in this together.”