Let’s talk about Leadership – Definition part 2

I know, since I published part 1, you were waiting for part 2 :-). This post will give some leadership concepts from different authors and specialists on this very subject so that I can give more ways of thinking and approaching the leadership concept.

Kouzes and Posner researched on leaders via interviews and case studies to develop their model that they considered to be exemplary practices of leadership. They found certain actions and characteristics in leaders who were performing at their best and compiled them into their five practices of exemplary leadership.

J. Kouses and B. Posner in The Leadership Challenge (San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 2003) to get extraordinary things delivered by an organisation, leaders must:
– Challenge the process
– Inspire a shared vision
– Enable others to act
– Model the way
– Encourage the heart

Dr. M. Weatley in her book, talks about the pivotal role that disorder and chaos can play in the physical realm… This implies leaders need to adapt to this new normal that becomes a VUCA world.

This means that leaders instead of being defenders of the the order, they have to change into supporters of a natural process that will create new forms of organisational structure that are not known yet.
This means that new priorities have to be defined:
– Articulating the key values and vision of the organisation
– Enabling the needed autonomy so that all parts can see the impacts of the changes
– Facilitating information circulation
– Develop a mindset to think in terms of systems
– Supporting relationships vs. fixed roles

Power-based leadership… is an interesting concept knowing that power can be defined as the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behaviour of others or the course of events (Google dictionary).
What could be considered as the source of someone’s power? Here are some relevant examples you should be able to easily relate to.

Competence – might be or functional or organizational i.e. or specific field knowledge e.g. technology or more broadly by knowing your organization as best as possible. Your skills are key here and should help you to be involved also in professional organisation and be recognised outside of your organisation.
Position – where you sit in the organisation may provide you opportunity to influence even without formal authority and so develop power. This would also involve the resources that are made available to you so that others will accept your influence based on their needs.
Personal – your own personality and self-confidence may also be a source of power, you may come across as inspirational and so building power through charisma and getting followers. This source will also help you to reward your team members and others e.g. publicly, public esteem is always a good thing.
Delegated – it may happen that power is being delegated by a superior that won’t be able to handle a specific topic. The best option is really to volunteer and ask for that delegation.
Association – this one is more about due to the fact that you have acquaintances with powerful individuals so that by induction people will tend to accept your influence. This can also lead to build alliances to obtain some objectives coming from this association.

Whatever the source of your power is, always make sure you are at the right time at the right place, meaning you have to remain relevant and understand what will be the next moves in the organisation.

Empowerment is in the middle of my own Leadership mindset:
– Empowerment
– Delegation

In my mind, the real power is enabling to let it go so that power can be exercised as closer to where the information is as possible. Diane Tracy in 1992 described this paradox in her 10 Steps to Empowerment:
1. Clearly define roles and responsibilities with purpose
2. Give authority commensurate with responsibility
3. Communicate challenging standards that define excellence
4. Give people the tools to meet standards
5. Give people information
6. Give people feedback
7. Offer recognition and incentive to perform
8. Create an environment of trust
9. Give people permission to fail
10. Be respectful

I keep working in that direction as I truly believe it is the best way forward from a leadership perspective and so far I could demonstrate the efficiency of this mindset.

It is now about growing and developing your leadership skills. This is what would make the difference between the leader and the follower… (Warren Bennis & Burt Nanus)

Senge’s Learning Wheel shows this everlasting process, this is indeed a lifelong exercise that we all have to go through in order to remain relevant.
Also look at the difference whether you do this as a team or as an individual. The following will focus on the individual exercise.

We keep running all the time so when did you last stop, stepped back and reflected on your latest decisions/actions.
It is necessary to do so else you make keep doing the same things and expect different results i.e. nicely slipping to insanity… this learning wheel is there to help understanding how to best improve and develop our leadership skills!

What are these 4 stages?

Reflecting – this is the moment to think of what happened and critically review your decisions. Think of a retrospective like you would do at the end of an Agile Sprint. Always dedicate time for this as part of your work time. It is all reviewing your perception of the latest events and think of how to improve.
Connecting – try to link the results of your reflections and your previous experiences to start building hypotheses, ideas and potential actions so that you can elaborate alternatives to improve your delivery.
Deciding – the whole point of this one is really to make a decision on what is the best approach based on our reflections and connections we made. This will drive the implementation of our improvements.
Doing – here you go, time to move into implementation mode and do what we decided to put in place. Test our hypotheses and action the necessary changes to the course of action before restarting the whole cycle again.

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