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Henley Leadership Group Blog

What's Your Leadership Superpower?

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Each of us brings unique gifts to our world – gifts like patience, enthusiasm, creativity and generosity. We call these your superpowers. They’re attributes that have been with you most of your life. The key is to know what they are.Because once you have named them and claimed them, you can engage them at work more consciously. This is how you lead at a higher level with your team. 

The Power of Leaders at Their Best

I recognize that my job as a leader requires that I know who I am at my best. I want to know that I made a difference, that I contributed to the evolution or betterment of our team, our planet and the people on it. 

Even so, it's not always easy for me to name my superpowers. I worry there might be an impression that I am bragging or self-promoting. And I also often struggle with self-doubt and internal criticism. There is certainly plenty of evidence that I am not always spontaneous, compassionate, generous or inclusive. But I acknowledge this discomfort and bring my superpowers anyway. Offering my superpowers to the team is an accountability I hold dear as a leader. 

In our work over the last 20 years, I have been moved to tears more times than I can count as I’ve observed leaders become present to their superpowers and the difference they have made. 

Their superpowers are not their drive for results, the financial impact or the bottom line, their brilliant strategies or personal charm. Rather, these leaders are acknowledged for being generous, thoughtful, visionary, fun, adventurous, loving, insightful, curious or inquisitive. Who they are when they are at their best is what moves mountains and creates miracles in the end.

How to Name Your Superpowers

So, what are your gifts? We all have them; we aren’t always fully aware of what they are or how they positively affect those around us. And you may be hesitant about naming them yourself. It can feel uncomfortable or like you’re boasting. But you can’t lead at your best without really knowing who you are at your best.

To name your superpowers, start by asking five people who know you well what words describe you at your best. These people can be from your work or your home life — what matters most is that they know you well. Because the people who know you best will know what your superpowers are. 

Ideally, the descriptors should be adjectives, like playful, caring, devoted, passionate, trustworthy or curious. They are qualities you bring to any role or circumstance when you are at really operating and leading at your best. Make a list, and then choose the three to five words that you most resonate with. Write them down and memorize them. 

Naming and claiming your superpowers is, in itself, an act of power. You become more responsible for making this offering every day. This is the beginning of you bringing your superpowers to your team more intentionally.

Previously published on Forbes