In the good old days of pre-2019, in a world where the only constant we were challenged by was Change, we can now add another in the form of Uncertainty. These two factors, besides many others, are making it increasingly difficult for a business to forecast future growth and are calling on Leadership to relook and rethink how they are paving the way forward to creating the highest probability of achieving their desired outcomes, making Leadership, without doubt, any organisations most competitive advantage.
The intensity with which the world is experiencing Change and Uncertainty is a Global Arena in which few have played. It demands that organizations be more agile than ever, making it nigh impossible for Leadership to take this on single-handedly, emphasizing that “Leadership is a Team Sport.”
Leaders need to see themselves firstly as a member of the team, then as a Leader. How each of us performs to the requirement of the role we signed up for impacts the team, making one position no more or less important than the other when working as a High Performing Cohesive Team.
The differentiator, however, lies in the Huge Responsibility that sits squarely on the shoulders of Leadership, something they need to be extremely mindful of when signing up for this position. Within this highly competitive Global Village, leaders’ challenge is building High Performing Cohesive Teams, which proves to be the difference between mediocrity and excellence.
It will require the one commodity that is precious to us all – TIME from Leaders! – Time to create a culture aligned with the organisation’s Vision, Mission, Values, and Strategy, built on a Foundation of Trust.
Based on the above, I have a straightforward definition and two simple rules for Leadership
Definition – “Leadership is a Responsibility TO those they lead, not FOR them”.
Photo by Michał Parzuchowski
Two Rules of Leadership
- It starts with you!
- It’s Not About You!
Let’s briefly unpack each of the definitions and rules for clarity.
Responsible TO not FOR…
Leadership assumes ultimate responsibility TO all stakeholders, ensuring the desired outcomes are achieved.
“You don’t build a business – you build people and people build your business” Zig Ziglar
While everyone is responsible for their own goals they aspire to, they have chosen the organisation as the vehicle that will be the provisor for them to achieve these. It is Leadership’s responsibility to create an environment where everyone feels safe on board the vehicle and ensure that it is well equipped to support everyone to do what they do best in the seat they occupy.
Each individual, in their respective seats, is responsible for making full use of what has been made available to them or requesting further support from Leadership to create the highest probability of reaching or achieving their desired outcomes.
Cohesiveness requires everyone to be “On The Same Page,” and in this regard, Leadership has a responsibility to Share the Vision – where they are heading; the Mission – how they will get there; the Values – defining the behaviour and influencing the decision making; while travelling this journey.
Two Rules of Leadership
#1 It starts with you
Leadership has been called upon to do some intense introspection and follow that famous statement, “You cannot lead others if you cannot lead yourself.”
They will effectively lead others when first taking time to understand themselves, be fully aware of who they are, where they lead from, and live the organisational Values aligned to its Vision/Mission.
#2 It’s not about you
Business is not about people; it’s about the
Leadership is a privilege bestowed upon those who are intentionally committed to growing
their people, to grow their business, and developing a culture that, when aligned to the SHARED Vision/Mission and Values, lives on beyond the tenor of the Leader.
The differentiator lies in the Huge Responsibility that sits squarely on the shoulders of Leadership, something they need to be extremely mindful of when signing up for this position.
Optimising Human Capital requires Leadership to make time to unleash the potential that lies inside every member of the team by focusing on developing strengths and managing around weaknesses, ensuring those they lead have the right tools and support for them to perform at their best.
Providing the opportunity for those they lead to take responsibility for that which they were hired and holding them accountable allows Leadership to assess who the “right people” are and whom they should get off the bus.
As soon as Leadership makes it about themselves, they will never build high-performing, cohesive teams and find themselves only leading from a position of authority to get the team to achieve. It does not create continuity beyond the term of the Leader.
In conclusion, I wish to see Leaders creating an environment where people respect each other in their differences so that they feel safe and proud to show up as who they are, to make a change, make a difference, and make a meaningful contribution to the world.
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