Have you lost your leadership path?
Now, more than ever, leaders are dealing with changing patterns and trends, too much data, too little knowledge, sketchy and stretched resources, and the changing habits of mass populations, all brought about by the pandemic.
Is that testing your leadership mettle?
If it is, I offer some thoughts to help you reorient yourself as a successful leader.
Are you leading with humility?
I recently read James Kerr’s book, Legacy, and he wrote that “successful leaders balance pride with humility. Absolute pride in performance; total humility before the magnitude of the task.”
There is no understating the magnitude of the task that many leaders face today. So, how are you approaching that challenge? Are you balancing pride and humility, even when you are the best at what you do?
Humility is about not expecting someone else to do your job for you or to hand things to you. It comes from deep self-knowledge, and at the heart of that self-knowing, lies the core values by which you live your life. It is from knowing yourself well that you develop the character, integrity, and leadership to wrestle best with the challenges that face you every day.
St Augustine said it best, “Lay first the foundation of humility. The higher your structure is to be, the deeper the foundation of humility needed.”
Humility enables you to ask the question, “How might I or we do this better?”
So, perhaps, reflect on your humility, and see if your foundations are deep enough to push forward on improving what you do.
Are you leading with your character?
James Kerr also wrote, “Our values decide our character. Our character decides our value.”
I rather like that, as it brings sharper focus to our value. What is your value – to yourself, to your teammates and your organisation, and even beyond?
Meghan M. Biro adds others like integrity, trustworthiness, emotional intelligence, openness, and motivation, all of which combine to make you a more successful leader.
Those characteristics will draw people to you who are engaged, focused, and willing to go that extra mile and provide a challenge to perceived wisdom. They will ask questions while staying connected with your shared values, and that will lead to individual and team improvement. Growth is a collective process, stemming from asking better questions so that better answers emerge.
So, perhaps, reflect on your character, and see if your qualities shine through and draw the people to you that will collectively drive your organisation forward.
Are you focused on personal and professional development?
I once read that all great leaders are readers. I believe this, though, for me, it goes way beyond reading. Leading with humility requires an active focus on personal and professional development, something often discontinued in challenging times. It may seem counterintuitive but now, more than ever, is a time to stay focused on your growth, as a person, and as a leader.
That focus will enable you to take responsibility and share ownership of your future goals, direction, and action.
So, perhaps, consider how current is your personal and professional development?
So, why change even when you are the best at what you do?
The simple answer to that question is so that you stop reacting to change and become the agent of change.
How might you do that? Kerr suggests that you should exit relationships, recruit new talent, alter your tactics, and reassess your strategy. He also recommends adopting John R Boyd’s OODA Loop – ‘observe|orient|decide|act’ – which enables leaders to maintain a constant cycle of interaction with the environment to assess and respond to its constant changes.
That helps you to stop reacting to what is happening in the moment and become the agent of change.
Do you want to retain your competitive advantage?
Thriving in a VUCA world means acting quickly and decisively seizing your competitive advantage. That relies heavily on your ability to lead your team successfully. That, in turn, requires the humility, the character, and the personal and professional growth to be proactive rather than reactive.
That may all seem common sense, but as Tom Peters once wrote, “Just because it is common sense, doesn’t make it common practice.”