Leading is as Leaders do…..

Please forgive the play on words ( I am mindful of the wisdom of Forrest Gump) and the overused phrase ‘walking the talk’ but could think of no clearer way of stating the importance of doing what you tell others to do.

A recent study (see below) on determining the difference between good and outstanding leadership has highlighted factors that state the obvious. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for stating the obvious, and I am all for having a robust piece of research to back up what we are being obvious about. The reason I am all for it is because the obvious can at times be taken for granted and we forget, especially when we are navigating complex environments, that we can find a way in and a way out through leadership that has partnership at the core.

This new research states that organisations that do best, do so not because they have leaders that obsess about achieving performance goals by resorting to a command and control style of leading; instead they are able resist this cognitive behavioral style and focus on engaging the workforce by ensuring the work itself remains meaningful.

Creating a cultural climate for your workforce to flourish and develop their own leadership skills is not a constant state of being for any organisation, it takes time and often relies on repeating the cultural message of respect and trust. This is especially important where individuals, teams, or whole departments have experienced error that has impacted heavily on the workforce, in this context leaders at all levels in the organisation need to see how their actions can influence a return to trust and pride in work.Outstanding leaders realise that the whole organisation functions at its best when everyone acknowledges the interdependence each employee has with the other, and are able to facilitate this by providing opportunities and a working environment where common purpose and co-production thrive. The knock on effect of this is an engaged workforce with an infectious team spirit, this culminates not only in mutual respect but also feeling a sense of pride in achieving something together.

Like most things, personal leadership (and the theories that underpin it) is something that evolves and develops with experience.

Key to evolving is being able to see the impact your leadership is having on others and on yourself, honest reflection and a smattering of courage is required to lead yourself and others through changing and uncertain times.

Set yourself some self development time today, and lose yourself in the photograph below. This is something I took traveling through Namibia. The journey across Africa was a long one and often I hadn’t a clue where I would end up on the journey but I always knew where I was going. When you have pondered the gorgeous landscape for long enough think about the following questions. Do so honestly, no one is looking over your shoulder, be your own leadership coach and determine a path that will help you to lead others.

Self reflection leadership questions

  1. How often do you lift your head up from performance targets and think about the people you rely on to deliver them?
  2. How do you talk about your vision to your team, department, organisation?
  3. How do the people you talk to about your vision respond?
  4. What is it about you as a leader that can help or hinder the vision becoming a reality?
  5. How often do you provide opportunities for open lines of communication so that you are aware of your leadership impact?
  6. What are your leadership values?
  7. How are these reflected in your leadership?
  8. In what way are you dependent on your workforce?
  9. What strengths do you and your workforce use every day in your job?
  10. How to you contribute to the leadership culture in your organisation?
  11. What do you do to support yourself and others if you experience errors at work?
  12.  When was the last time you felt really part of your team?

See more at: http://www.futureengagedeliver.com/outstanding-leadership/#sthash.byQGSOzk.dpuf