A few weeks ago, on October 13, 2017, Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, made his first official visit to Mexico where he met with Mexican President, Enrique Peña Nieto. It was an opportunity to emphasize their shared commitment to a modernized North American Free Trade Agreement that benefits Canadians, Mexicans, and Americans alike.
In his address to the Mexican Senate, Prime Minister Trudeau underlined the importance of progressive trade and modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement for the benefit of all three partners – Canada, Mexico, and the United States. He also emphasized that Canada and Mexico recognize the urgency of fighting against climate change and that it cannot be left for next generations to solve.
I’ve always been impressed by Trudeau’s leadership style. He often practices transparency, accessibility, openness, and a willingness to collaborate – all great qualities of a leader.
Regardless of your politics, I’d like to share a few key lessons we can learn from Prime Minister Trudeau’s approach to leadership originally written by Fast Company. Here are five of them.
1 – Build a Diverse Team
Trudeau gathered the most brilliant people and challenged them to find real solutions. Having a diverse group of people in your team will lead to creative thinking and problem-solving. After all, progress and team learning is only possible when there’s a willingness to engage with people with different views. A homogenous team stifles creativity and information processing.
2 – Be Open-minded and Have Real Conversations
Be willing to engage with people who disagree with you and consider their views. Transparent, genuine dialogue should be standard in any work environment. This helps build relationships between leaders and staff. Especially when employees transition to leadership roles.
It is too common for leaders to make decisions before hearing what their team has to say. In order to be effective and productive, the dialogue has to start with leaders listening, then engaging, and only then making a decision.
3 – Increase Your EQ
Emotional Intelligence is becoming more valuable. Trudeau has disrupted what good leadership looks like. He has an ability to parse diverse threads, read situations, motivations, and personalities, and respond in real time. A high EQ helps leaders be better communicators, reduce their anxiety and stress, defuse conflicts, improve relationships, empathize with others, and effectively overcome life’s challenges.
4 – Don’t Focus on Perfection, Allow Yourself to be Vulnerable
Trudeau was accused of manhandling another member of Parliament. Many felt it was jarringly out of character from the open and positive style Canadians had come to expect from him. However, the widely criticized incident had no impact on his reputation. That was largely thanks to Trudeau’s just-as-widely discussed apology–actually, his series of apologies–that came immediately, without qualification, and struck many as sincere.
Leaders make mistakes and everyone knows it; it is important that we own up to it and apologize clearly and immediately. Be sincere. Justin Trudeau’s apology was different than perhaps what we’ve expected from past, ‘tough’ leaders. It was refreshing.
5 – Have a Real Life
Simply put, leaders need to remain flexible and sensitive to work-life issues. Give your team–and yourself–the leeway to work in the way that works for the rest of your lives.
What leadership qualities do you value most?