In my work with leaders and high-potential groups, I’m often challenged to raise the bar by helping them develop a new brand of leadership. Not something that generates an incremental amount of improvement, but an innovative, game-changing approach that will take their companies to the next level with breakthrough performance. Achieving that kind of “leadership leap” can take months of training, study and experiential learning. My workshops on this topic help companies jumpstart the process, but it does take time and dedication. Is it worth the effort? Absolutely. The results show up in the bottom line.

So what does it actually mean for professionals to shift into next-level leadership mode? During my workshops, participants gather valuable feedback about their leadership brands from colleagues, clients, direct reports and supervisors. When they get their feedback results, participants might discover that co-workers described them with words like action oriented, dependable, driven, and collaborative. Certainly these are all admirable traits that are essential for continued success. However, those who demonstrate next-level leadership elicit a different set of adjectives—things like strategic, innovative, influential and resilient. That might seem like a subtle shift, but the potential impact on the company is enormous.

When I share the distinction between these profiles, the next question is invariably, “OK, how can I do that?” In this blog series, I will profile the key attributes of professionals who have successfully made the shift to next-level leadership. These include Innovative, Resilient, Strategic, Influential, Executive and Insightful. Hopefully understanding the competencies required to make that strategic leadership leap will help you create an action plan to incorporate them into your own success plan.

Please let me know what you think. And stay tuned to learn more about the first attribute of next-level leadership: Innovative.