One could make the case that our current global crisis can be correlated to a global lack of leadership. Leadership is hard and rare. Author John Kotter believes that less than 10% of what happens in organizations is leadership and goes on to say those organizations are over-managed and under-led. In my lifetime there were six challenges I was continually trying to meet as I tried to be a leader.
LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE 1 – LEAD INSTEAD OF MANAGE
It is your struggle to figure out how to balance your leadership-management seesaw and those of your staff that determines your speed of change. More management means slow change. More leadership equals quicker, deeper change. How are you traveling at choosing leadership?
LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE 2 – KNOW YOURSELF, KNOW YOUR PEOPLE
Many days in our organizations, our greatest obstacle to growth and change is looking back at leaders from their mirrors each night. You must know who you are and what you stand for. You have these mental models, and they are damn resistant to change. Many are functional. Many are not. These are the ones that ought to give us huge warning signs, but we can’t see them without feedback. It is amazing how an organization often takes on the personality of its leader. Are you clear on the mental models your organization sees in you each day? Who are you getting rich feedback from? How have you action planned to control your dysfunctional mental models? Beware of the feedback you get from your “groupies”, staff members who think you are a hero. Feedback is not about having our egos stroked. Often the best source of feedback will come from your resisters. Personal visioning is the vehicle to use to know staff. How have you helped staff design personal visions? How do you support them to fulfill them?
LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE 3 – KNOW HOW TO GET PEOPLE ALIGNED
Shared vision is the most powerful place to take action! Every leader needs a set of visioning tools in their leadership toolkit. Leaders who engage with commitment actively in the process and genuinely lead it always do well in growing their organizations and influencing alignment. When staff feels ownership in the life of the organization alignment will surface. This helps minimize the number of resistors. Remember what organizational research says. You only need 33% of your staff behind an initiative to be successful.
LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE 4 – HOLD YOUR NERVE IN THE STORMS
Of all the leadership challenges we face this may be the toughest of all. So many factors try to make you blink: Our own mental models of blaming outward, fear of Ministries and National mandates, the storm behaviors and all those siren voice trying to lure us onto the rocks. Learn to LOVE this period. If you don’t brave the storm you doom yourself to the events and patterns of behavior that are your current reality. So much learning occurs in the storm. Remember what gets you safely through storms. Be who you say you are everyday. Thunderbolts and collective pits are part of leadership. Being true to yourself will see you through. The really good stuff is always on the other side of the storm!
LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE 5 – SURFACE CURRENT REALITY
Tell the truth! Our organizations are the way they are. Pretending they are something they are not portends no good end. Current reality is our ally, not our enemy. An accurate, insightful view of current reality is as important as a shared vision. If both are clear we can sustain creative tension and move closer and closer to the vision. If we don’t tell the truth about our current reality we begin to descend into emotional tension and watch the vision begin to erode. This becomes a powerful lesson leaders must teach – the current reality. How is your organization traveling at bringing to the surface the “un-discussible”, those potentially embarrassing and threatening issues that prevent you from learning?
LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE 6 – ONE MIND, ONE VOICE
You and your leadership team must speak with one mind, one voice when you are out with the people you lead. We certainly hope your leadership group is a congenial lot! That always makes for better Friday afternoons. But congeniality doesn’t bring much to the transformation table. Collaboration is what is needed for change. And, at the heart of leadership team collaborations, are those brutally frank and honest conversations that go on behind closed doors. In the end it is essential that the leadership team make decisions about those issues they will be of one mind, one voice when they open the doors. How is your leadership team doing around this challenge?
The Learning Pit
8 years ago