Every follower deserves a leader who can actually lead. As important as it is to Start with the Heart, leadership character alone is insufficient. Last week I began to unpack the four critical domains of leadership beginning with our ability to Lead Self. Today, we’ll focus on the one which gets the most attention – the skills needed to lead well.
To me, there is tremendous irony in the fact the skills of leadership get so much attention; not that it is undeserved, you would just think more people would know HOW to lead. The reality is many leaders don’t understand, or practice, the fundamentals of leading well. Often, the strategy is outstanding but the plan breaks down when men and women charged with leading others, fail to get the job done.
What is the job of a leader? I love Warren Bennis’ definition: The ability to turn intention into reality and sustain it. Great – but how? What are leaders supposed to do? What is our job description?
[tweet_box design="default"]A leader has the ability to turn intention into reality and sustain it.- Warren Bennis[/tweet_box]
This is the second element of our leadership eco-system: Leading Others. Every leader needs to develop a certain set of competencies. To be even more precise, every leader should pursue mastery in five specific facets of the role. Ken Blanchard and I wrote about these five practices in our book, The Secret. The title was derived from the truth: All great leaders SERVE.
See the Future – Leadership always begins with a picture of the future. What is your preferred picture of the future? What is it you are trying to accomplish? What are you trying to achieve? You cannot create that which you cannot envision.
Engage and Develop Others – Leaders are the architects of the culture in our organizations. This opportunity comes with tremendous responsibility. The fact so many Americans are disengaged at work is not a worker issue, it is a leadership issue.
Reinvent Continuously – Progress is always preceded by change. Are you leading positive change? If not, you aren’t leading. What needs to change to move you toward your desired future? Four areas to explore: Self – Systems – Strategy – Structure.
Value Results and Relationships – Don’t be surprised if you encounter major tension on this one. All of us, or at least 95% of us, have a natural bias… we are either more results-oriented, or more relationship-oriented. The best leaders VALUE both. Find ways to compensate for your bias and watch results soar.
Embody the Values – More of leadership is caught than taught. When you and I walk the talk, at least two things happen: through our actions we communicate what is really important and we validate, or invalidate, our trustworthiness. People always watch the leader.
Leadership is the most pressing need in virtually every organization - large and small. As leaders, we need to do all that we can to help raise up a generation of leaders who have the desire and the skills needed to SERVE![GLS_Shield]