Aké Satia is the Chief Vision Officer at Aké Satia, a Human Capital firm in the DC area focused on strengthening organizations by bolstering the intersection of people strategy and business strategy.



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A Leadership Superpower!

What makes someone a good leader?
And what catapults someone from the realm of the masses into the esteemed club of leaders?

Indeed, these are worthwhile questions that many have pondered! And for some, the answer to these questions seems straightforward: A leader is known by their title. If this response or thought came to mind, it’s understandable. And I invite you to explore another perspective.

In the past twelve months, have you attended a business meeting or engaged in discussions about talent, business goals, or business results? If you have, I bet the topic of leadership came up! And during that conversation, I imagine people espoused many opinions and perspectives on what makes a good leader. And when you reflect on that conversation, was a universal definition applied, or did everyone have a different understanding of the qualities that define leadership?

Well, a quick Google search reveals that there are several desirable leadership traits! And that is good because we all have strengths and weaknesses, and one person cannot possess all the vital qualities that constitute good leadership. However, it is worth considering which traits distinguish a true leader from one that merely bears a leadership title.

Fortunately, to do so, we need to look no further than the plethora of resources that define leadership on the internet. The traits at the top of the many lists of leadership qualities include accountability, adaptability, confidence, creativity, and empathy. (SOURCE: Leadership Traits: 10 Top Qualities of Effective Leaders | Indeed.com) And upon reading this, your initial thought might have been: Of course! Makes sense!
Because these are qualities that most of us would like to believe we possess. And one would be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t desire to work for another who displays these qualities. But this begs the question: While these qualities are desirable, do they differentiate a leader from followers?

What differentiates a true leader from the masses?

And this is a worthwhile question because many display the admirable qualities above. But an ability that differentiates a true leader from followers or one who merely bears a leadership title is the capability to make a powerful impact and propel a cause by enabling others. And a skill that helps leaders to make such an impact is discernment. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines discernment as the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure, i.e., not seen. – This is also known as having and showing a good sense of judgment. And it is worth noting that good judgment skills can be built and honed.

But one might ask: why is the skill of discernment so critical in a leader?
As you know, one of the luxuries granted to leaders is extensive access! And when one has access to a copious amount of information and resources, one bears great responsibility. And,  discernment becomes vital! Because being discerning allows us to steward resources and make wise decisions. Indeed, with good judgment, one knows when to speak or remain silent and when to move or be still.

Also, being discerning helps one properly share information and use resources. And this is important because providing too much information at the wrong time could distract and steer others the wrong way. And giving too little information or improperly using resources could result in unmet goals. Undeniably, being discerning is a balancing act!
And in the future, we will explore how to cultivate the all-important skill of discernment.


Ahead of our next rendezvous, you may wish to ponder these:

Who do you know and believe is a great leader? Can you think of a good decision that they made? What did you observe about how they made the decision? And what are two important things they did to make the decision?

I look forward to exploring with you!

For you and to you,



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