The world has done a wonderful job making leadership more complex than it needs to be. You’ve been taught to fill your head with more content, models and skills, when you’ve likely stepped over some of the most important aspects of what makes a great leader.
Clarity, Intention & Practice.
Leadership is simple, not easy.
I had a meeting last week with a senior leader who confessed he has learned a lot of great leadership theory, but still reverts to the individual contributor habits that brought him success. For example, rather than teach, coach and create context for people to do the work needed, he continues to work longer hours and will take things across the finish line himself. It’s not easy to break those habits, but there is a simple method that, with practice, can set a new trajectory for your leadership impact.
Clarity comes with an understanding of how leadership works. How it REALLY works. We create clarity by introducing science to help you understand effective leadership. This activates your desire to change and exercise the behaviours needed to lead in volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous times. Once you are clear about your leader brand, what’s most important, who’s most important and how you control your success, you manage your mental resources better.
Once you have clarity, you can become intentional about the way you work. To be intentional means to bring consistency to how you lead and engage your people. How do you intend to face conflict, challenges and provide feedback? How might you ensure the people on your team are noticed, celebrated and recognized?
You’ve probably heard the statement, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” The answer is always, “Practice.” How do you make tremendous leadership impact? The answer is always practice. Rather than allow yourself to get consumed by the disease of being busy, strong leaders set aside a little time in the morning to cast off in the right direction and at the end of their day to reflect on their impact. When you commit to this practice, you fill your deficits quicker, find new and better ways to create value for your organization and the people who work with you. It’s not about being perfect. It’s about committing to the process of leadership excellence. This makes you invaluable.
First you have to ask yourself if it’s worth it. It might not be – we see “leaders” all the time who are more committed to their role than their impact. Great leadership is not a comfortable journey, you have to be a bit of a masochist.
Make the choice to be a great leader for those you work with. It’s simple, not easy.
“My team is far more competent and confident than they were before we started this leader process.”
Thane Schaffer, Director of Operations, Upstream Chemicals, Baker Hughes