I have recently had the fortune to, thanks to my friend the writer and lecturer Paco Alcaide, meet Pedro Díaz Ridao in person. Pedro is a renowned specialist in leadership, professor at the Real Madrid University School and partner of the company 3’59. Pedro has published the book “Best Leaders”. In recent weeks I have read it, with special dedication from Pedro.
And I must tell you, dear reader, that I loved the book. Pedro describes the true essence of leadership both in business and sports. It offers very interesting real examples, inspiring stories that help us to better understand the concept of leadership and to know how to apply it to our personal and professional lives. In addition, it has a magnificent prologue written by Emilio Butragueño.
His reflections have seemed so interesting to me that I wanted to share them with you in summary form. Mixing personal reflections, scientific research, and stories of true leaders.
Pedro identifies 8 key aspects in leadership development, which are:
It is the confidence that a person has in his ability to solve the situations that present themselves in life. Pedro affirms that until we really need something, it is very difficult for us to commit ourselves to acquire certain knowledge or skills. Furthermore, it indicates that the best leaders know how to connect the experience of the present with the opportunities of the future.
- Risk propensity
Great leaders change when things are going well. Pedro affirms that there is no better way to overcome a crisis than anticipating it and that, in a world in which change is constant, anticipating is essential to avoid being left behind. He also recommends constant reinvention of oneself. In addition, he stresses that “our talent is like our savings: if we leave them intact for ten years, their value will not be the same after this time, but much less.” It indicates that the best leaders are those who have known how to anticipate changes instead of simply surviving them.
Pedro highlights the importance of creativity and that it requires discomfort. That one of the best ways to develop creativity is through sports. He also says that to really change the rules you must do it from within. It also highlights that “when creativity and talent come together, success has more reasons to appear.”
- Critical thinking
Pedro indicates that the questions are more important than the answers. That the best leaders must question things and rethink their priorities. In addition, he highlights that “critical thinking has a multiplying effect both on our children and on our teams.”
- Tolerance of ambiguity
Talk about the importance of resilience, the ability to recover from adversity. Resilience is made up of 3 dimensions: resilient personality, ingenuity, and optimism. In addition, it indicates that our professional development depends largely on 2 factors: motivation and ability.
- Control locus
Another outstanding characteristic of the best leaders is their ability to connect with themselves before connecting with others. Locus of control is a concept used in psychology to describe the perception that a person has about the causes of what happens in his life. He affirms that great leaderships require an internal locus of control, that is, to take responsibility for both successes and failures. The internal locus of control, as Pedro explains, helps to assess effort and personal ability. Also, as we shoulder our failures, we increase our options for learning. And when we take on our successes, we increase our self-esteem.
- Social impact
One of the qualities of the best leaders is their ability to improve the environments in which they live and work. As Díaz Ridao himself says “the best leaders are social leaders”. And, above all, this phrase by Pedro that I love and perfectly sums up this point: “when leadership meets social responsibility, it becomes a weapon of massive construction.”
And the last of the key elements of great leadership is empathy, that is, that ability that a person must learn to read the emotions of others well. As Pedro affirms, “the best leaders are empathetic leaders, they are not superheroes, but they do have the power to improve the context in which they live or work and to empower many others to do the same.” The best leaders bet on seduction to motivate others. And to seduce, you first need to empathize.
In short, 8 key aspects that we must keep in mind to become “Best Leaders”. I finish with a phrase that Emilio Butragueño writes in the prologue “individual talent must always be at the service of the group”. And Butragueño adds, quoting his “discoverer” Alfredo Di Stefano, “no player is as good as everyone together”.