Truly effective and inspiring leaders aren’t actually driven to lead people; they are driven to serve them.
Effective leaders know their primary job isn't to amass personal accomplishments, but to accomplish as much as possible through the gifts of others. How do leaders inspire their associates to such great heights?
•Know the keys to their heart - What do they sing about, cry about, dream about?
•Know the gifts in their possession - What do they do well that gets results?
•Know the opportunities in their path - What next step fits their maturity?
Big ideas inspire and set direction. Setting specific tasks ensures things get done. Combine them and we ensure progress is made.
When morale is low, the leader must do productive things to give the team a boost. In the beginning, any movement is a great victory. But to create positive morale, you need to pick up some speed. You need to be productive. After all, you can't steer a parked car!
To get the team moving:
•Model behavior that has a high return - People do what people see. The best way for them to learn what you expect of them is to model it yourself.
•Develop relationships with people of potential - To get any team going in the right direction, you need players who can produce. Find the people who have the potential to be productive and start with them. Don't ask too much of them too soon. Leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand.
•Set up small victories and talk teammates through them - Nothing helps people grow in skill and confidence like having some wins under their belts.
•Begin with the people who have the greatest potential.
Communicate vision - Keep the vision before your team continually because vision gives team members direction and confidence.
The more we are focused on what the competition is doing, the less we are focused on what we are doing.
Google has taken time to clearly articulate their business philosophy, described in the article, “Ten things Google has found to be true”. The article highlights Google’s beliefs, values and principles, which guides how they go about growing and managing their business. The ten things that comprise Google’s business philosophy are:
•Focus on the user and all else will follow.
•It’s best to do one thing really, really well.
•Fast is better than slow.
•Democracy on the web works.
•You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer.
•You can make money without doing evil.
•There’s always more information out there.
•The need for information crosses all borders.
•You can be serious without a suit.
•Great just isn’t good enough.
These are the ten things that support Google’s business philosophy and guide Google’s leadership. In the same way, all leaders need a personal leadership philosophy, a set of values, beliefs and principles that influence how they act and lead.
“In order to live, man must act; in order to act, he must make choices; in order to make choices, he must define a code of values; in order to define a code of values, he must know what he is and where he is—i.e., he must know his own nature (including his means of knowledge) and the nature of the universe in which he acts—i.e., he needs metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, which means: philosophy. He cannot escape from this need; his only alternative is whether the philosophy guiding him is to be chosen by his mind or by chance.” – Ayn Rand, 1966, “Philosophy and Sense of Life” from What makes Ayn Rand’s philosophy unique?
Many leaders fail to take the time to think and reflect on their leadership philosophy, the beliefs, values and principles that supports their leadership. A leadership philosophy is grounded in who we are as individuals. A clear leadership philosophy supports consistent action, building credibility and trust with a leader’s constituents.
My leadership philosophy can be found athttp://www.whamond.net/uploads/2/3/2/1/2321910/leadership_ethos.pdf
My Ten directives are:
I. Stop putting personal preferences ahead of organizational effectiveness.
II. You can’t manage time! You can only manage priorities and behaviors.
III. Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.
IV. Leaders owe it to the organization and to their fellow workers not to tolerate non performing individuals in important jobs.
V. A good leader will never expect from others anything more than they're willing to delver themselves.
VI. The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't said.
VII. The purpose of a business is to create a customer.
VIII. The things that get measured are the things that get done.
IX. Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes... but no plans.
X. It's difficult for passion to co-exist with discouragement.
One of the greatest causes of negative thinking and poor mental health is self-absorption. Selfishness inclines people toward failure because it keeps them in a negative mental rut. That is the reason that Dr. Karl Menninger responded the way he did when someone asked, "What would you advise a person to do, if he felt a nervous breakdown coming on?" Most people expected him to reply, "Consult a psychiatrist," because that was his profession. To their astonishment Menninger replied, "Lock up your house, go across the railway tracks, find someone in need, and do something to help that person."
My friend Kevin Myers says, "Most people are too insecure to give anything away." I believe that's true. Most people who focus all their attention on themselves do so because they feel that they're missing something in their lives, so they're trying to get it back.
Developing a giving spirit, as Menninger implies, helps a person to overcome some of those feelings of deficiency in a positive and healthy way. That's why Menninger says, "Generous people are rarely mentally ill people." A person is less likely to focus on himself if he is trying to help someone else.
Focus on the vision and the numbers will thrive. Focus on the numbers and the vision will struggle.
I once heard someone joke that home is the place where family members go when they are tired of being nice to other people. Unfortunately some homes actually seem to work that way. A salesman spends his day treating his clients with kindness in order to build his business, but he's rude to his wife when he comes home. Or a doctor spends the day being caring and compassionate with her patients, but comes home exhausted and blows up at her children.
To build a strong family, you have to make your home a supportive environment. Psychologist William James said, "In every person from the cradle to the grave, there is a deep craving to be appreciated." Feeling appreciated brings out the best in people. And when that appreciation comes in the home and is coupled with acceptance, love, and encouragement, the bonds between family members grow, and the home becomes a safe haven for everyone.
Work ethic is giving great effort to complete a task. Passion is giving great energy to achieve an outcome.
Insecure leaders are dangerous - to themselves, their followers, and the organizations they lead. That's because a leadership position becomes an amplifier of personal flaws. Whatever negative baggage you have in life only gets heavier when you're trying to lead others.
Unsure leaders have several common traits:
•They don't provide security for others - To become an effective leader, you need to make your followers feel good about themselves.
•They take more from people than they give - Insecure people are on a continual quest for validation, acknowledgment, and love. Because of that, their focus is on finding security, not instilling it in others.
•They continually limit their best people - Show me an insecure leader, and I'll show you someone who cannot genuinely celebrate victories. The leader might even take credit personally for the best work of the team.
•They continually limit their organization - When followers are undermined and receive no recognition, they become discouraged and eventually stop performing at their potential. And when that happens, the entire organization suffers.
letting go of the power you perceive you hold and allowing others to collaborate with idea's and plans is a true sign of power and leadership.
When we explain what we're trying to achieve instead of just making demands or delegating tasks, others are more likely to contribute ideas.
How can someone start on the road to a systematic approach to becoming a true leader and developing others? The first step is to identify the gaps between where you are and where you want to be and a vision of uncompromising excellence and a brutally honest assessment of yourself and your organisations current condition. The gap between the ideal vision and the current state helps in identifying the problem around which you can focus your efforts to self-development, develop others and promote continuous improvement by both small and large changes. This process of identifying the gap between the current and the ideal will repeat itself many times in the life of your company and the career of a aspiring leader.
Use the following pints as reference as a diagnostics for your organisation:
• Is the vision shared and understood within your organisation? Is their a sense of accountability and ownership of the vision? Not just from the Leadership group, but everyone within the organisation. The vision needs to be believable, actionable and reinforced in concrete terms as the work is done. Is everyone working towards the vision everyday?
• Do we have the right leaders in place who are willing to take on challenges with a positive mindset and develop themselves? The long term goal is to have all leaders, up, down and across the organisation, busy self-developing. Self development does not mean you have to do it alone. Every leader (or aspiring leader) should have a mentor and/or coach (sensei) to work with them and challenge their thinking. This sensei does not have to be a senior, it can be someone on the shop floor who is able to challenge you and make you think outside the square with a focus on continues improvement.
•Are leaders at all levels embracing their roles as teachers, developing others to lead the way in the future? Starting the process of self-development is a challenge, but in some ways its simple compared to the process of transforming leaders who have learned over decades to be decision makers into teachers who are developing others. Learning "servant leadership" and focusing on developing others, instead of using your power to give orders. This requires remarkable maturity and discipline. The starting point is to make clear the expectation that leaders will develop others and to make that part of their ongoing performance assessment and feedback.
•Are all leaders at all levels using a rigorous process to solve the right problems step by step? Root-Cause problem solving involves fundamental behavioural tendencies. Its natural to want to jump in with :solutions" so that you can see the "results" quickly. The Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) process focuses the majority of the effort on the planning and then stresses that the job in not complete until we Check and start planning for the future action.
Leadership has nothing to do with title or rank. As soon as people volunteer to follow you, you are a leader.
A useful framework to assist leaders in identifying where leadership is working well and what needs to change to improve our leadership effectiveness is the DAC Leadership Framework. “Direction, alignment, commitment: Toward a more integrative ontology of leadership” .
Direction. Shared and collective agreement on the vision, mission, goals and aims of the group. Direction implies change, a change from the current reality towards some future state.
Alignment. The coordination and integration of people, structures, skills, process and systems to produce collective work in service of the shared direction.
Commitment. The willingness of people to prioritise the success of the collective work above their own interests, to devote their time and energy in service of the shared direction.
Using the above framework leadership has happened when the outcomes of direction, alignment, and commitment have been produced. Successful leadership requires that all three of the leadership outcomes be produced in a coordinated way. Looking for evidence of the leadership outcomes of direction, alignment and commitment is how we know that leadership has or has not happened.
The leadership outcomes can be applied to all the levels of leadership, leaders of teams, leaders of leaders and leaders of organisations. Although relationships, structures and process may differ across the various levels of leadership the outcomes remain the same. At each level the outcomes may be produced in various and different ways.
Leadership beliefs are the the beliefs that individuals and the group hold about how best to produce the outcomes of direction, alignment and commitment. For example you may believe that commitment is best produce by inspiration, as opposed to threats of negative consequences. Leadership beliefs are important drivers that influence how people go about producing direction, alignment and commitment.
Leadership practices are the observable behaviours, resulting from their beliefs, that produces direction, alignment and commitment. All of the leadership practices reflect the leadership beliefs held by individuals and the group about how best to produce direction, alignment and commitment.
The leadership outcomes are supported by the beliefs of individuals and groups as to what behaviours and processes are effective for producing direction, alignment and commitment. The behaviours and practices that produce the leadership outcomes of will differ from organisation to organisation and from group to group. This is because the beliefs as to what create direction, alignment and commitment differs amongst these individuals and groups. Leadership practices are leadership beliefs in action. Leadership practices are the observable behaviours and processes occurring in the group. So all leadership practices are supported by a specific leadership belief.
Direction, Alignment and Commitment as Leadership Tool
When we approach a discussion of leadership with these three outcomes in mind the leadership conversation changes. The conversation changes from one about leaders, followers and goals, to a conversation focused on how to produce direction, alignment and commitment. When we pay attention to the three leadership outcomes, we become aware of opportunities where more leadership support is required. The three leadership outcomes help to increase our awareness of where leadership is effective, where leadership is lacking and where leadership requires strengthening.
The benefits of looking at leadership as a set of outcomes is that it makes leadership immediately more tangible and provides a practical diagnostic tool. This assist in ensure we apply focus on the right areas to improve our leadership outcomes.
"Go to the people. Live with them. learn from them. Start with what they know. Build with what they have. But with the best leaders, when the work is done, the task accomplished, the people say - we have done this ourselves"
Engage and develop people in order to make continuous improvement a daily reality. With a effective leader as a teacher and a daily coach, process improvement and people development go hand in hand.
Create environment within your organization in which people are empowered through concrete experience to develop conviction, trust in a vision, face challenges and come out stronger and act decisively in response to rapid change.
It largely comes down to creating a culture and then constantly reinforcing consistent practices that enable true leadership to develop. Culture and leadership are two sides of the same coin, and both must be constantly-literally ever day-recreated and reinforced through deliberate attention and action. Continuous improvement of processes requires continuous leadership.
The place to start empowering people is by evaluating them. With inexperienced people, if you give them too much authority too soon, you can be setting them up to fail. With people who have lots of experience, if you move too slowly you can frustrate and demoralize them.
Remember that everyone has the potential to succeed. Your job is to see the potential, find out what he lacks, and equip him with what he needs. As you evaluate the people you intend to empower, look first at three areas:
Knowledge - Think about what people need to know in order to do anything you intend to give them.
Skill - Nothing is more frustrating than being asked to do things for which you have no ability.
Desire - No amount of skill, knowledge, or potential can help a person succeed if he doesn't have the desire to be successful.
People don't follow others by accident. They follow individuals whose leadership they respect. And the more leadership ability a person has, the more quickly he or she recognizes leadership - or its lack - in others. When people get together for the first time as a group, take a look at what happens. As they start interacting, the leaders in the group immediately take charge. They think in terms of the direction they desire to go and who they want to take with them. At first, people may make tentative moves in several different directions, but after the people get to know one another, it doesn't take long for them to recognize the strongest leaders and to follow them.
In time, people in the group get on board and follow the strongest leaders. Either that or they leave the group and pursue their own agendas.
There has been a debate for years about what makes a great leader. This debate is at times summarised into two schools of thought. The one school proposes that leaders are a select few people who are born with a unique set of skill and possess a rare leadership abilities, they are naturally gifted and talented. The other school of thought proposes that leaders are made, that is they learn, grow and develop into great leaders through the books they read, the people they associate with and from their experiences.
My take on this discussion is that I believe that leaders are made, and I am not the only one with this perspective.
“…leaders are made, not born, and made more by themselves than by any external means. Second . . . that no leader sets out to be a leader per se, but rather to express himself freely and fully.” – Warren Bennis, On Becoming a Leader
The truth is the most people have the potential to become effective leaders. The real issue is that leadership takes time to develop…
• People need time to figure out what they’re passionate about
• People need time to understand their personal vision and purpose
• People need time to learn how to express who they
• People need time to learn how to use their unique strengths and skills
• People need time to learn how to express their purpose in their own unique way.
As the saying goes…. the fighter does not win in the ring… he is only recognised there! You see leadership is not something you’re born with, it cannot be taught, it cannot be copied… it’s learnt!
“Leadership cannot really be taught. It can only be learned.” – Harold Geneen
Leaders learn through life experience, by making room in our lives for lots of trial and error…
“Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.” – Vince Lombardi
Leaders are made when they understanding their purpose, their strengths and have a deep passion to make a difference by living out who they are in the real world.
“Leadership is an observable, learnable set of practices. Leadership is not something mystical and ethereal that cannot be understood by ordinary people. Given the opportunity for feedback and practice, those with the desire and persistence to lead can substantially improve their abilities to do so.” – James Kouzes and Barry Posner, The Leadership Challenge
Perhaps this real issue is that…
• … only a few of us pay the price necessary to become a leader?
• … only a few people take the time to understand their unique vision and purpose?
• … only a few people take the time to understand who they are?
• … only a few people take the time to learn how to express themselves?