Whether you are a CEO or a first line manager, we all struggle with being better at what we do. Trainers and Coaches also often make the problem worse as they all try to sell us “the next best training” based on some theory.
What really propels our growth though as a leader is having a “clear idea of what to expect from ourselves as leaders”. The most important part of this is knowing how we channelize our time and energy everyday. Are we spending time fire fighting or chasing sales or are we spending time around vision, culture and coaching and building a robust and dynamic self driven organization?
So what about management theories and practices? Once we have clarity of how we see ourselves as leaders, learning new tools and techniques happens naturally and comes easily. So who is the ideal leader in today’s world? Is there a formula?
Yes. Here is what I have come up with and find most effective and empowering as a leader:
20% Visionary + 20% Evangelizer + 30% Relationship Builder + 30% Coach and Mentor
By definition a leader leads and how can one lead without a clear definition of “Why, What and How” of the existence of the organization besides making money.
A leader needs to create an empowering vision that is grounded in who they are and also articulate “what and how” we do things that are all consistent to the Why of the organizations existence.
The highest engagement and creative power of the team comes from a well articulated and integrated vision that is connected back to improving human lives.
Roadblocks and Caveats?
Often when I talk to CEOs and first line managers they have many reasons why they don’t think this formula is practical, implementable or right for their situation.
Here are the reasons they give out:
• My people are not that trustworthy or competent
• Yes, but measurement of results is more important without that nothing works
• I just don’t have the time
• It doesn’t work with everyone, some people just need to be managed actively
Any seed needs good soil and time to give results. If we go at anything with doubt and skepticism we are likely only to validate our own fears and theories. That is just how powerful human mind is and that is how it operates.
So if you are not convinced that this approach to leadership can be magical, no amount of logic and case studies will convince you. The only way you can understand the power is if you go back and “reflect” on all your key experiences and understand the consequences of your approach. You can go back and reflect on “when life flowed easily” and “everything went right” – what was your mental state leading up to that? How were you spending your time? How excited and connected you were? You can also reflect on situations where “things got progressively more stressful and difficult to manage” and see what your mindset was leading up to it.
When you are able to see a clear pattern between how you spent your energy and the subsequent outcomes, you will be ready to tap the potential magic of this leadership formula.
Just articulating the company vision in company meetings or putting plaques on the wall is not enough. A leader needs to consistent evangelize the vision through their words and actions. A leaders need to speak in language that is consistent with vision. A leader needs to share this vision externally and with all stakeholders including customers and partners.
Consistent Repetition, Repetition and Repetition is the key of words and action.
As much as we talk about vision and strategy, the real power of an organization or any group, or individual comes from positive and mutually supportive relationships.
As much as we believe that people are “rational beings” and make purely objective decisions, that is not true. We are social beings and we make decisions based on trust and value alignment – which also happens to be a better decision in the long run.
Healthy relationships in the organization not only reduces sales, marketing, hiring and all other indirect costs dramatically, but also helps in opening new avenues and possibilities that often we just can not see, plan or put in a business plan.
Coach and Mentor
The best service a leader can do is a build a strong culture of coaching and support. They can lead the way by themselves spending significant time coaching their next line and others in accessing their potential.
A coaching (instead of managing) culture, not only reduces costs, mistakes and overheads it also activates everyone’s potential and makes the overall organization significantly more creative and effective.
Once you are awakened to this new possibility, you will have to commit to practice new ways of being for at least 90-days before you doubt or abandon the path. That is how long it takes for anything to take root in us when we work to change our habits.
Here are the some simple tips for how you channelize your energy:
• Every morning, make a list of 3-5 important things you want to give your attention to at work and home (remember the formula while doing that)
• Maintain your focus on these things despite distractions and fires. Always ask “if you really need to do something”. Be extra cautious of “reverse delegators” (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/you-being-reverse-delegated-anil-chouhan)
• When helping anyone with their work or decisions — always handle it in a way that “they learn how to do handle it themselves next time” by giving them the “guiding principles” for making the decisions
• Finish your priority tasks and leave. Never ever hangout in the office longer – unless you want to do some conscious relationship building
• Never worry or follow up on others tasks. If you help someone never take up their worries. This helps take real ownership.
I have been following this formula and approaches for about a year now, and the results in all dimensions (measurable and emotional) are phenomenal.
Now go and lead in a magical and joyous way :).