Leadership Basics

Recently, a client asked about our engagement roles and “the basics” of leadership.  Here’s the spontaneous reply:

Blended Coach-Mentor Role:  I offer ideas for your thoughtful consideration, and tools to support learning.  My role, and my intent, is not to “direct” your thoughts/actions, but rather to ask probing questions, offer a perspective for you to explore and reflect upon, giving you the benefit of my experience, my expertise, my thoughts, my curiosity.  Hopefully, you seek out the wisdom of others as well.  In the end, you choose your course of action.

Your Engagement: 

  • Exploration/Study/Reflect/Practice:  Your growth/development requires that you take initiative to explore, study, reflect and practice.  Every minute of the day you’re in “learning” mode, even when doing “hands on” tasks.
  • Demonstrate Understanding:  It’s imperative that you “put meat on the bones” of your words.  It’s not enough to “say” the words:  what’s most important is the meaning behind the words, and “walking the talk” of the words.
  • Use The Tools:  Ask yourself…  How am I utilizing the tools offered?  What do I do daily/weekly to keep the tools at the forefront of my thoughts/actions?  How am I practicing with others?  With the team?

To be a good leader requires energy, effort, focus, and commitment  –just as in any role.  The key driver of success for a great leader is the ability to optimize relationships in order to achieve results.

Guidelines for achieving Results/Relationships:  OUR VALUES.

Results:  Leaders are responsible to deliver strategic results, which requires

  • a “vision” for team direction
  • strategic thinking & planning, with team member (and other stakeholder) collective input
  • collaborative implementation by the team, including the leader rolling up sleeves and pitching in to be “hands on” when strategically/tactically necessary
  • commitment
  • accountability:  to self, to others.

Relationships:  It’s essential that leaders

  • build effective relationships (trust/respect) with each individual member of the team, as well as the team as a whole
  • role model the behaviors desired
  • empower each team member to be and do their best
  • engage in effective discussions to surface different perspectives (conflict) in order to make optimal decisions.

Messaging:  HOW you say/do something is critical to success.  Complete thinking of your messaging approach will help you to be most effective with what you choose to address.  It’s essential to think through  –from all angles:  What?  Why?  Who?  When?  Where?  How?

  • What’s the Agenda:  Purpose/Outcomes?
  • What are the Key Messages (e.g., your vision of change, roles, responsibilities, timing, etc.)
  • Why the Key Messages are important/relevant
  • Who needs to hear the information
  • When/Where is change anticipated/initiated
  • How  you “show up” as the Leader (“Leadership Presence”)

…to deliver the message:  energy, timing, words, body language

… to support, leverage, expand current learning (tools, models)

…to reap the greatest value by engaging the Team in discussion to ensure clarity, buy-in, commitment, results.