Every successful leader clearly understands that the purpose of any business is to create value for customers, employees, and investors—your key stakeholders— and that the interests of these three groups are inextricably linked. You need to ensure doing the job is mandatory to any leader: harnessing company’s resources, capabilities, and core competencies to gain and ensure a sustainable competitive advantage. In a nutshell, it is your job to guide people to develop the right mind-set and habits, and to use the right tools, to pursue the most value-adding activities.
Having said that, in volatile, uncertain and complex times, such as the ones we are going through, as the thoughtful leader or your organization, you’re the ultimate responsible to steer your team/organization to the best possible outcome in the foreseeable future. As said in a previous article, given the impossibility of knowing precisely how future will play out, a good strategy to adopt is one that plays out well across several possible futures. Making quick and coherent decisions might be the make-or-break. Neo-Darwinism at its best.
Let me reiterate, thoughtful leadership, teamwork and collaboration are key to winning.
“All organizations are perfectly designed to get the results they are now getting. If we
want different results, we must change the way we do things.” – Tom Northup.
Where to start? Start by sharing your vision and your values. Understanding and then communicating your core values is a fundamental aspect of becoming an effective leader. Authenticity and integrity shape great leadership.
All human relationships are based on power—the ability to influence the actions of other people. The more people know your capabilities and respect the reputation you’ve built, the more power you will have. Earning trust from your followers happens when they rely on your competence, your integrity and your character.
A word of caution. Top-down leadership is outdated and counterproductive. What you need instead, is to help people—your followers—feel purposeful, motivated, recognized and energized. Enabling leadership is about involving others and helping them out to do their best. For that, you need to be trustworthy to them!
According to researcher Paul J. Zak, “Employees in high-trust organizations are more productive, have more energy at work, collaborate better with their colleagues, and stay with their employers longer than people working at low-trust companies. They also suffer less chronic stress and are happier with their lives, and these factors fuel stronger performance.”
Here is my succinct advice for you to practice Thoughtful and Visible Leadership
Inspire. Make your thinking visible to your people. Vulnerability is courage. Offer them your inspiration, your insight, and your intuition. Make sure your vision is in the heads and hearts of your people.
Get alignment. Ask how you can help employees do their own jobs better, then listen actively and respectfully. Get alignment, through shared purposes and aspirations.
Communicate. You need robust dialogue, in a low-risk environment, to surface the realities of the business. Create the combination of optimism and action that allows people to turn their confusion into meaning. Create sense of urgency.
“Daring Leadership talks straight and takes action. These leaders lead from the heart.
They attend to the fears, feelings, and history of their team.” ~ Brené Brown
Walk your talk. Ethically lead the course. Treat everyone with respect and dignity. Fearlessly steer the ship. And don’t be afraid to admit what you don’t know. Trust must be earned and deserved; people need evidence on which they can base their decision on whether to trust you.
Raise the bar. Ensure accountability for results. Fervently follow-through to ensure the plans are on track. Obsessively measure everything! “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” Be bold.
Adapt. Make it clear to everyone that adjusting and adapting to the fluidity of the environment is a must. Get ahead of changing circumstances. Seek help and information from diverse sources and bring in outside
expertise when needed.