Since I’ve written a lot on the subject of exponential leadership and exponential organizations, I often get asked about the difference between traditional leaders and exponential leaders. Well, there’s a very fine line between the two. And that line is defined by some qualities and traits that exponential leaders possess, which allows them to lead more effectively.

As a matter of fact, we live in challenging times. Local and social unrest, deadly natural disasters, geopolitical turmoil, the COVID-19 pandemic — and several other disruptive events have caught us by surprise. In a world where “change is the only constant”, leaders need to become exponential leaders in order to thrive.

Here are some indispensable qualities an exponential leader must manifest:

1. Invest In Yourself

You may have a lot to accomplish and achieve, but if you’re falling behind yourself, you cannot attain any of your goals. The best way to navigate your leadership is by utilizing the strengths, knowledge and experience that you have in your arsenal. However, if your own knowledge and strengths are getting rusted, you cannot help your employees and company grow.

It is, therefore, important that you invest in developing yourself and continuously learn. Make sure you keep up to date with the ongoing trends and broaden your skillset, staying relevant to your industry. Acquiring fresh knowledge and skills will allow you to find innovative solutions to problems.

2. Have Flexible Ways of Thinking

Exponential leaders are adaptable, which means they have access to different ways of thinking, allowing them to experiment and shift as things change. Their elastic cognitive approach enables them to use different thinking strategies and mental frameworks.

To unlock your flexible thinking, you need to question your thought patterns. Practice reflecting on your own emotions and those of others. Approach everything with an open mind and explore from all angles. Step back from rigid processes and think analytically.

3. Develop Your Network

Networking is most often enthusiastically embraced by people who are neophytes to the workforce or those seeking career change. Many mid-career professionals and C-suite executives don’t believe their network is adequate and no longer needs to expand.

Exponential leaders strongly believe that networking is important for everybody. They understand that a well-built and maintained professional network can be one of the most powerful tools of career advancement. In addition to that, a professional network can be a fountainhead for new information and ideas, keeping you aware of the latest happenings in their industry and the world at large.

This is the reason why exponential leaders not only connect with individuals they expect to work with one day, they also connect with diverse thought leaders from within their industries to facilitate the free exchange of ideas.

4. Be Perseverant

Every leader is faced with unexpected difficulties, obstacles or structures that impedes the team from reaching its goals. But an exponential leader examines the underlying causes of the difficulty, finds a potential solution and sets about implementing methods to help the team persevere through the obstacle and continue the journey towards successfully achieving the team goals.

So avoid adopting the belief that it is okay to give up. Mentally plan and expect obstacles and even think beforehand how you would be dealing with them when they do occur.