Being an effective leader of people in today's world seems to be much more complicated than in years past. They must be able to lead three completely different generations of people, all with different operating contexts and outlooks on what work is all about. Today's leaders are not only vying for new customers against their competitors, they are vying for talent.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share three tenets to leadership intelligence from employee recruitment and engagement expert Magi Graziano that will help you to master new ways to lead people and gain talent over the competition.

1. Self-Awareness. Self-Awareness begins with the curiosity and courage to hear what works and does not work about your leadership and the culture that exists in the organization. Once you become aware of your competitive talent advantages and your talent barriers from the eyes of your people, you are equipped to take action. Self-Awareness allows you to leverage your talent and intervene when and where necessary to remove those personality ticks that are in the way of your true leadership potential.

Self-Awareness is the doorway to emotional intelligence and it gives you access to real improvement as well as personal and professional development. Self-Awareness is not always easy. In almost every case there are aspects of personality or behavior that have a negative impact on others, and with an authentic look in the mirror an aware leader can begin to take responsibility for that negative impact. Being aware of our negative behaviors, alone, is insufficient. Taking responsibility for the impact of those behaviors, and working to shift those limiting ways of being is where Leadership Intelligence begins. Once a leader has mastered self-awareness they optimize their ability to leverage situational awareness, which is fundamental to assessing, evaluating and intervening if need be, in the ebb and flow of the climate and culture of their organization.

2. Executive Brain Function. Optimizing your executive brain function is a secret weapon of leadership intelligence. The PFC, prefrontal cortex, is where the executive brain operates; it is like the controls in a cockpit. This is the part of our brain where strategic thinking, collaboration, reasoning and creativity come from. The problem is most leaders learn over time to depend and lean on one hemisphere and become complacent in allowing that hemisphere to run the show.

The left hemisphere of our brain is where our organization, categorizing, reasoning, and strategizing come from. It is in the right hemisphere where brainstorming, innovation, collaboration, and relationship abilities are housed. When a leader is aware of their goals and visions as well as in control (conscious) of their thoughts, responses, and well-being—and the leader leverages both hemispheres of their executive brain through right/left hemisphere integration—their leadership intelligence and effectiveness skyrockets. When a leader is utilizing all of their capacities, they see things they might not see and are more equipped to respond to climate and culture barriers and infringements.

3. Response Agility. Response agility is the ability to respond in an appropriate, controlled manner—regardless of the current stress or breakdown the leader is facing. Flat-line reaction is not appropriate for all situations. But screaming and yelling are not appropriate for any situation. Anger and frustration might be needed at times, and curiosity and collaboration may be needed at other times.

Agility in your response means that you have trained yourself to think before reacting. Effective leaders ask themselves, "What is needed now?" This has everything to do with situational awareness and appropriate reaction. When stress hits the fan at work, a leader who has a handle on how they respond, and can coach others in this manner, is a leader who is positively contributing to a healthy company climate and culture. Response agility takes discipline, awareness, new habit formation and commitment, and is a core component of leadership intelligence.

Turning your leadership intelligence into your competitive talent advantage is the number one way to impact recruitment and retention of the best people.

Source: Magi Graziano, as seen on NBC, is the CEO of Conscious Hiring® and Development, a speaker, employee recruitment and engagement expert and author of The Wealth of Talent. Through her expansive knowledge and captivating presentations, Graziano provides her customers with actionable, practical ideas to maximize their effectiveness and ability to create high-performing teams. With more than 20 years' experience as a top producer in the recruitment and search industry, she empowers and enables leaders to bring transformational thinking to the day-to-day operation.