9 Critical Leadership Truths

Jan 21, 2020

I remember being impressed by 9 critical leadership truths that were being promoted at my children’s school. What impacted me was the fact that as a leadership coach and consultant, I am often talking about these very same qualities and skills with my ‘adult’ clients.

This image (taken by my daughter, Tasha) shows the school's ideal student with a combination of qualities and skills – wouldn't it be great if managers and leaders valued the same qualities and worked on their skills?

Leaders, and children develop from the inside-out (Bryant & Kazan 2012) and so it is great that being self-aware is promoted. The school sees self-awareness as developing self-discipline, self-esteem, self-confidence, reflection – all great qualities for today’s leader. With self-awareness we can become a self-manager which includes the skills of; meta-cognition, independence, perseverance, diligence, organization and responsibility.

If you were to get a report card on your ability to self-manage, how would you and your team do?

Do you use your meta-cognitive skills to define your own goals, monitor progress, reflect and adjust your approach to improve results?

Are your people able to work independently and safely towards a goal without direct oversight? Can they organize their time and resources to manage a workload and complete a task?

Leadership Truths

If you ascribe to the maxim, “you can’t lead others unless you first lead yourself", then I think you will agree that the following qualities are important:

Principled - Acting with integrity and honesty with a strong sense of fairness and respect for self and the dignity of others.

Resilient - Able to anticipate, persevere and confront challenges.

Commitment to Care – Demonstrating stewardship, caring, empathy, compassion, open-minded, service and sustainability.

What would your organization be like if everybody had these qualities? How would this change the culture? I think we, too often, focus on the skills of our employees when hiring and then bemoan that they don’t have these qualities after an issue arises. I salute my children’s school for focusing on culture first and then developing the skills.

Leadership Skills

In today’s rapidly changing work environment, the skills we need include:

Critical thinking and Problem solving – Be able to critically solve complex problems based upon informed and ethical decisions

Creativity and Innovation - Be able to think creatively to produce original work, or to develop innovative ideas.

Collaborative – To work collaboratively in diverse settings to learn and lead by influence.

Communicator - To communicate effectively according to audience and purpose.

The most skilled engineers, technicians, financiers, legal or medical professionals, will all limit their promotion and success potential if they do not develop these 3 skills as well as self-management.

"My children are being educated, therefore I am wealthy” – Indian Proverb

I am grateful that my son and daughter, are growing up in a culture that promotes both qualities and skills. And I am optimistic that many of the organizations I work for are waking up to the fact that ‘Maximizing Shareholder Value’ promotes the very opposite qualities and skills.

A growing number of CEO’s, including; Jack Welch (GE), Jack Ma (Alibaba), Paul Polman (Unilever) and most recently Marc Benioff (SalesForce), are going on record as saying that maximizing shareholder value is idiotic and we must move to maximizing stakeholder value.

“The competitive advantage you gain from being a caring and sharing company is significant,” Benioff wrote in his 2004 book, Compassionate Capitalism. “It instills in your people a higher integrity level. In turn, stakeholders want to be associated with a company that has heart."

With this in mind, I invite you to do a leadership health check on yourself and your company, how are you doing with this list?

Please share your comments.

 

 

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