Are you really effective as a leader? How do you know? Strong leaders ask themselves this question frequently. It is one of the traits that effective leaders have in common: they realize that their “winning formula” for the leadership last year may be obsolete this year. Good leadership is measured by the specific variables and situations that you face at any given moment.
So, in times of rapid change, what can leaders do to continually develop? Based on my work in coaching top-level executives, I have learned about some of the key “ways of leadership.”
LEADERSHIP MEANS “MANAGING ATTENTION.”
Here is a simple but highly valuable insight: A leader’s main job is to align everyone’s attention with the group’s intention. The leader needs to develop the skill to focus each team member’s energy on the group goal; and to reduce all activities that do not support the goal. The key skillset required is knowing how to manage attention: your own and others. (The skill of “Managing Attention” is a whole seminar. Call me if you are interested.)
IT TAKES COURAGE TO DECIDE TO LEAD.
Being a leader is a conscious decision you make. You do not need to wait for an invitation to contribute. Just decide how your skills can improve things and get in there. If you are waiting to be promoted or waiting for the opportunity, you are still “waiting.” Develop the courage to create a place for yourself and your talents.
PERFORM “WITH” PEOPLE VS. PERFORM “FOR” PEOPLE.
If you are leading large numbers of people through times of change, you’ll need to really get this distinction. It is more important to “connect” with people and build solid alliances than it is to try to perform perfectly for them. The higher level of staff productivity that we need today won’t be gained without inspiration. Get close enough to people to find out what makes them tick. Intensify relationships in cross-functional ways. New solutions come from “masterminding” not the Lone Ranger.
BREAK OUT OF YOUR BEST IDENTITY.
Re-create yourself and your leadership style every day. You cannot solve new problems by viewing them through the identity you built for yourself yesterday. This takes personal confidence to step into a broader identity of who you are and create answers from that expanded place. Be willing to risk the reaction of others. What would be possible for you to achieve if you saw yourself as the next CEO?
To hear Val’s talk about this leadership, get the audio CD Leadership.