Leadership Coaching

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Leadership Is a Journey, Not a Destination

Conscious LeadershipEvery context requires different talents and skills, so leaders must stay deeply aware and learn to adjust themselves along the way. Whether you are a leader of today or tomorrow – and no matter your field – thinking consciously about leadership is essential, as this will affect your choices, decisions, and performance.

In my research and teaching, I spend most of my time with very senior global C-suite executives taking courses like INSEAD’s Advanced Management Programme. Yet, when we begin a deep conversation about leadership, I like to show these highly experienced executives a simple picture of pathways in the forest.

All pathways are a little bit different. You may chance upon rock, stone, sand, grass or paving. Some pathways crisscross, some split off in multiple directions. Some pathways are easy, some are hard, and some are blocked. This metaphor of forest pathways represents one of the most fundamental insights about leadership: Leadership is a journey, not a destination.

We never actually arrive at the destination of being the very best leader that we can be. We should aspire to this, but this vision is ahead of us as our journey continues. This is not a solo journey. We make pathway decisions about the people we lead, our organisations and ourselves. There may be decisions about a new career opportunity, a new country to work in, a new organisation or a new industry.

Every time we make these decisions, it sets us on a new pathway. Our leadership and career journey only has stopovers. On a pathway, we can also suddenly face disruption, like technology, or an industry-altering business model, which completely changes the way ahead.

Leadership goes well beyond VUCA

Understanding these ideas is even more important in the 21st century, a time when the leadership journey gets increasingly challenging. We are well beyond the acronym VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity). We now need to add two Ds to the acronym to reflect the broader context of the journey ahead. Everyone’s leadership journey will now be in the “D-VUCAD” world. At the front, overshadowing everything, is Disruption (whether in the form of technology, social change, industry reconfiguration or the like). We continue with VUCA. Finally, we add the reality of Diversity (including gender, cross-cultural and intergenerational).

In the D-VUCAD world, your leadership journey will include more frequent pathway changes, all of which should be navigated consciously.

A key finding in my research on leadership development, is that many leaders do not think consciously and actively enough about the new pathways they are embarking on when they make leadership or career changes. They re-use the same skills, capabilities and approaches, even when these do not match the new situation.

Take the example of John Little (not his real name), a very senior operating executive I worked with in a programme. John was an exceptional leader in crisis situations. He would frequently and successfully head crisis project teams in his firm. In such situations, he appropriately used an authoritative leadership style. He was clear, precise and energising, directing the people in his team in delivering the solution.

Context really matters in Leadership

John was eventually promoted to lead a business unit responsible for operations in another country. This was a steady-state business with growth opportunities. He was entering a very different pathway, but he didn’t consciously think about it. John told me that he felt pretty good about himself at the time. He’d just gotten a big promotion based on his track record. However, with no crisis in sight, he started to create some.

He continued to use the same directive leadership approach that had made him successful in the past. Twelve months later, he received his performance feedback. The feedback from his people was very clear: “You are a micromanaging, authoritarian dictator who never listens, consults or inspires others.” His crisis style didn’t suit his new pathway.

John accepted the feedback and adjusted his approach. He garnered a first and profound insight about leadership effectiveness: In the leadership journey, context really matters. He became more consciously aware of himself, other people, the context and the purpose of his leadership.

Leaders with “insightful awareness” understand their strengths and talents, as well as what will be their weaknesses in a given context. They understand what will drive or block them at different points of their leadership journey. They set themselves development objectives and priorities accordingly. This ensures that their “personal leadership agenda” stays dynamic. It is consciously re-assessed in light of the current and future situations. They then commit to making focused and dedicated changes, with reflection, practice, support and feedback. They confront hard questions such as: “Am I the right leader for this pathway?” and “Why am I doing what I’m doing on this pathway?”

Six As for insightfully aware leadership

Insightful leaders understand that the following six As can help them navigate their leadership journey:

• Awareness – achieving profound awareness of self, others, context and purpose as their leadership grounding point, backed with a commitment to a leadership development agenda or action plan.

• Aspiration – setting a long-term vision to be the best leader they can be, and connecting this to their short-term context and leadership development agenda, reflection, coaching and feedback.

• Authenticity – developing and challenging themselves using clear self-leadership with an understanding of their personal attributes, emotional and other intelligences, their role modelling and engagement with others.

• Acumen – building personal and team capacity for leadership judgement, agility and decision making about business and people matters, as well as leveraging team diversity and talents.

• Approaches – adopting conscious leadership approaches that match organisational, team and personal capabilities with the needs of the context or situation.

• Altitudes – “flying” at three distinct leadership altitudes: 50,000 feet (vision, strategic, external and organisational); 50 feet (execution, operational, teams and stakeholders); and 5 feet (self and very close personal relations with others). Thinking, acting and communicating seamlessly up and down, without getting trapped at any one altitude*.

In the D-VUCAD world, building on these As allows insightful leaders to harness the specific capabilities their teams, their organisations, their context and they themselves need.

These capabilities might include a combination of: Competitiveness (e.g. goal setting and technical skills); Creativity (e.g. innovation and curiosity); Collaboration (e.g. teaming and engagement); Control (e.g. planning and risk mitigation); Cognitions (utilising different kinds of thinking capacities and multiple perspectives); and effective Communication (intrapersonal, interpersonal, group and public).

Capabilities are not emphasised blindly. Insightfully aware leaders emphasise the capabilities required to achieve specific strategic or operational outcomes at the time or in the future. This is how they succeed on the pathway. For example, a leader in a critical operations role might emphasise control capabilities like implementation and risk management. Meanwhile, a leader developing innovative products or services might emphasise more creative capabilities such as brainstorming or ideation.

Our unconscious is filled with drivers and blockers. The key is to reflect on our leadership consciously, and in context. Every leader’s journey is a personal one – with opportunities to seize and problems to face. Assess your passions, your motivations, your talents and your skills. Match these to the pathways ahead and adjust where needed. Always be “insightfully aware” as you challenge yourself to be the best leader you can be in the journey stages that you are sharing with others.

Original Article by Professor Ian C. Woodward, INSEAD here

Why Leadership Development Isn’t Developing Leaders

Too many business leaders today are out of touch with the employees they lead. Edelman estimates that one in three employees doesn’t trust their employer — despite the fact that billions are spent every year on leadership development. Part of the problem: Our primary method of developing leaders is antithetical to the type of leadership we need.

The vast majority of leadership programs are set curricula delivered through classroom-taught, rationally based, individual-focused methods. Participants are taken out of their day-to-day workplaces to be inspired by expert faculty, work on case studies, receive personal feedback, and take away the latest leadership thinking (and badges for their résumés). Yet study after study, including my own, tells us the qualities that leaders in today’s world need are intuitive, dynamic, collaborative, and grounded in here-and-now emotional intelligence.

The mismatch between leadership development as it exists and what leaders actually need is enormous and widening. What would work better?

Over the last 16 years I have carried out research into how leaders create change, and I’ve worked in the change leadership field for 25 years in multinational corporations. Over that time, I’ve come to appreciate four factors that lie at the heart of good, practical leadership development: making it experiential; influencing participants’ “being,” not just their “doing”; placing it into its wider, systemic context; and enrolling faculty who act less as experts and more as Sherpas.

Make it experiential. Neuroscience shows us that we learn most (and retain that learning as changed behavior) when the emotional circuits within our brain are activated. Visceral, lived experiences best activate these circuits; they prompt us to notice both things in the environment and what’s going on inside ourselves. If leadership development begins in the head, leaders will stay in their heads. We can’t simply think our way out of a habit. But in experience, and novel experience in particular, our intentional mind can be more engaged as we make conscious decisions about our behavior.

n practice, this mean setting up what I call “living laboratory” leadership development. Throw out pre-planned teaching schedules, content, lectures, and exercises that ask you to think about your world and how you need to lead it. In its place, switch to constructing self-directed experiences for participants that replicate the precise contexts they need to lead in. In such experiences the group dynamics at play in the room become the (at-times-uncomfortable) practice arena. Business simulations or unstructured large group dialogues are examples of this. I have also used experiences that challenge participants to self-organize visits outside of their companies to stakeholder groups that matter for their future, such as a carbon-dependent energy provider visiting environmental NGOs. All can act as powerful experiential catalysts for learning and change.

Influence participants’ “being,” not just their “doing.” In soon-to-be-published research, Malcolm Higgs, Roger Bellis, and I have found that leaders need to work on the quality of their inner game, or their capacity to tune into and regulate their emotional and mental states, before they can hope to develop their outer game, or what it is they need to actually do. So leadership development must start by working on the inner game. It’s very hard for leaders to have courageous conversations about unhelpful reality until they can regulate their anxiety about appearing unpopular and until they’ve built their systemic capacity to view disturbance as transformational, not dysfunctional.

In order for leadership development to influence being-level capacities, the learning experience needs to offer stillness and space for intentional, nonobstructed contemplation. It’s difficult to teach how to be! Training people with tools and models is very different from simply holding a space for leaders to be. In practice, I have found that offering participants experiences such as mindfully walking outdoors in nature, sitting silently in peer groups to hear colleagues share their life stories, and providing out-of-the-ordinary tasks such as stone carving, enables leaders to tap into their inner world as a powerful instrument for cultivating the vital skills of purpose, self-awareness, empathy, and acute attentional discipline.

Such approaches might sound a million miles from the chalk-and-talk model on which leadership development was built over the last century. But do we really believe that inner capacities can be developed in this way?

Place development into its wider, systemic context. In their HBR article, “Why Leadership Training Fails – and What to Do About It,” Michael Beer, Magnus Finnström, and Derek Schrader talk cogently about the need to attend to the organizational system as a vehicle for change before companies simply send their leaders on training programs to think and behave differently. Too often I have seen the “parallel universe” syndrome, in which leaders attend courses that promulgate certain mindsets and ways of working only to go back to the workplace and find that the office (and especially top leadership) is still stuck in old routines.

I have an additional spin on this need. And that is to use the lived leadership development experience as an opportunity to tune into and shift that very system, because they are intimately connected. Recently I directed a three-year change intervention in which the top 360 leaders of one company (including the board) attended a leadership development program in 10 waves of participants, with 36 leaders in each. Given the uncertainty in their industry, it was impossible for senior management to know what their long-term business strategy or organizational model would look like. However, the CEO did know that all he could do in such a dynamic context was build new capacities for agility and change in his organization. Each wave of participants joined the leadership development at a different stage of the company’s change journey, and at each stage we used the development experience not just for personal training but also as a vehicle to import and work with the shifting systemic dynamics of the company through time — helping them move through the “change curve.”

This meant, of course, that the program for each of the 10 waves felt very different, all set course designs had to be thrown out, and we as faculty had to continually adapt the program to the shifting context.

Enroll faculty who act less as experts and more as Sherpas. Finally, you have to attend to the required skills and characteristics of the people who lead these programs.

In the above example, we found that no single provider could provide a facility that was holistic enough. We needed a faculty group with egos not wedded to any particular leadership methodology or school of thinking and who could work skillfully with live group dynamics, creating psychological safety in the room for participants to take personal risks and push cultural boundaries. We required the educational equivalent of Sherpas, people able to carry part of the load in order to guide participants toward their personal and organizational summits.

This required not just hiring a bunch of individuals with such guiding skills but also developing ourselves continuously as a robust faculty team. We needed to be able to work with a continually changing curriculum design, and with the group projecting their discomfort with the wider change  — and how it was being experienced in the program — onto the faculty.

Make no mistake, attending to all four of these factors is a sizable challenge. Whether you are a corporate or business school leader, a head of leadership and organizational development, or a senior business leader sponsoring and attending leadership development programs, take a long, hard look at how you are currently delivering leadership development. The price of failed leadership is already too high for us not to attend to the process through which we develop it.

Original Article HBR – Deborah Rowland – here

Staying grounded is key to balancing life and leadership

Authentic LeadershipSuccessful leaders live complex and demanding lives. As the frequency of communication has intensified, the pace of business has increased. Authentic Leadership requires an ability to stay grounded and balanced.

Yet many of us have not learned how to deal with this. There is never enough time to do everything you want to do, because the world around you makes ever greater demands on your time. Nor will you be able to achieve a perfect balance between all aspects of your life – career, family, friends and community, and personal life. Inevitably, you will have to make trade-offs. How you do so will determine how fulfilling your life will be.

How to successfully navigate the sharing economy

Authentic leadership needs awareness of the importance of staying grounded. In doing so, they avoid getting too cocky during high points and forgetting who they are during low points. Spending time with family and close friends, getting physical exercise, having spiritual practices, doing community service, and returning to places where they grew up are all ways to stay grounded. This grounding is essential to their effectiveness as leaders because it enables them to preserve their authenticity.

To avoid letting professional commitments dominate their time, authentic leadership means giving priority to their families and take care of themselves personally, in terms of their health, recreation, spirituality, and introspection. There is no silver-bullet solution to this issue, but neglecting to integrate the facets of life can derail you. To lead an integrated life, you need to bring together the major elements of your personal life and professional life, including work, family, community, and friends, so that you can be the same person in each environment. For authentic leaders, being true to themselves by being the same person at work that they are at home is a constant test, yet personal fulfilment is their ultimate reward. Doing so will make you a more effective leader in all aspects of your life.

Stay Grounded

To integrate your life, you must remain grounded in your authentic self, especially when the outside world is chaotic. Well-grounded leaders have a steady and confident presence. They do not show up as one person one day and another the next. Integration takes discipline, particularly during stressful times, when it is easy to become reactive and slip into bad habits.

Leading is high-stress work. There is no way to avoid stress when you are responsible for people, organizations, outcomes, and uncertainties of the environment. For global leaders, long overseas trips intensify the stress. The higher you go, the greater your freedom to control your destiny but also the higher the stress. The question is not whether you can avoid stress but how you can manage and relieve it to maintain your own sense of equilibrium.

When Medtronic’s Chris O’Connell gets stressed, he said:

“I feel myself slipping into a negative frame of mind. When I’m at my best, I’m very positive and feel I can accomplish anything, both at work and home. When I become negative, I lose effectiveness as a leader and become even less effective at home. Both positive and negative emotions carry over between work and home.”

Focus on What Matters

When Sheryl Sandberg worked as a McKinsey management consultant, her manager implored her to take more control over her career, telling her, “McKinsey will never stop making demands on our time, so it is our responsibility to draw the line … We need to determine how many hours we are willing to work and how many nights we travel.”

After the birth of her son, Sandberg adjusted her in-office hours at Google to 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., enabling her to nurse her son. To compensate, Sandberg got up in the early morning hours to check e-mails and worked at home after her son went to bed. She learned that by focusing her time, she did not need to spend 12 hours a day in the office.

“I focused on what really mattered and became more efficient, only attending meetings that were truly necessary. I was determined to maximize my output while away from home,” said Sandberg. “I also paid more attention to the working hours of those around me; cutting unnecessary meetings saved time for them as well.”

Stay true to your roots

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz goes back to Brooklyn from time to time, Intuit Chairman Bill Campbell stays in regular contact with his old friends in Homestead, Penn., which helps him keep perspective on life in Silicon Valley. To restore themselves and keep their sense of perspective, leaders may have a special place they can go with their families on weekends and vacations. Many renowned leaders found they can think more clearly when they escape: Thomas Jefferson had Poplar Forest and Winston Churchill had Chartwell. For decades, former U.S. secretary of state George Shultz and his wife went to an old family farm they own in Massachusetts.

“I once told the president, ‘This is my Camp David,’” said Shultz. “When I go there, I put on an old pair of pants and old shoes. I am so relaxed, I don’t worry about anything.”

Find time for yourself

To manage the stress of our authentic leadership roles, we need personal time to reflect. Some people practice meditation or yoga to centre themselves and relieve anxiety. Others find solace in prayer. Some people find they can release tension by jogging. Others find relief through laughing with friends, listening to music, reading, or going to movies. It’s not important what you do, as long as you establish routines to relieve your stress and think clearly about life, work, and personal issues. It is critical not to abandon these routines when facing an especially busy period, because that is when you most need your stress reduction techniques.

Adapted from Discover Your True North, Expanded and Updated Edition by Bill George. Copyright (c) 2015 by Bill George. Bill George is a senior fellow at Harvard Business School and former chairman and CEO of Medtronic.

How to succeed as an authentic leader

10 do’s and don’ts for leadership success

by Arjen van BerkumLeadership: the never ending journey

Do you know who you are, what you believe and why you believe it? Are you able to be yourself in any given situation? Recently I read an article that contained a nice comparison for leaders that are facing their greatest challenge, namely integrating their personal and work lives:

Think of your life as a house. Can you knock down the walls between the rooms and be the same person in each of them?”

It takes a lot of courage to be a visionary, to walk your talk every step of the way. Especially when you still need to build your follower base. How can you find the inspiration to make an impact in the world as an authentic leader? Don’t strive to achieve success in tangible performances that are recognised in the external world. Strive for significance. Make a difference with your contribution: constantly build legacies by adding deep value to everyone you deal with. This is what makes good performers great leaders. Therefore self-awareness is a vital part of successful leadership.

Here are some principles that evolved from the values that I have ranked during my leadership journey.

  1. Never be afraid to lose your job.
    (Or don’t let your fear determine your next steps in business) First of all, if you are constantly scared to lose your job, you are not convinced of your own vision and capacities. In that case, leadership might not be the role that suits you to begin with. Second – if you put the safety of your own job first, you will never be successful as a leader. The choices you make should depend on what’s best for the business and for the people working in it.
  2. A good personal reputation is your most valuable possession. Keep it or fix it.
    Be self-confident and well organised, smile a lot, be friendly and remain professional in every circumstance. This will bring you a long way toward establishing strong working relationships. To manage this, communication skills and an innovative mind-set are indispensable in your toolbox.
  3. Being honest is better than being nice. Build trust.
    Leadership is not about being popular, but about building trust. As a leader with contradictive behaviour that regularly breaks promises, you will lose followers. People do not want to follow a leader they cannot trust to fulfil their guarantees. Once trust is lost, it is nearly impossible to gain back. So don’t play games and don’t work with hidden agendas. The benefits in the short run will cost you loyalty in the long run.
  4. You don’t know everything yourself. That’s okay. Manage your weaknesses.
    Acknowledge that you cannot be talented in all areas. So you need to build your support team and hire talents. Leaders never succeed on their own, they need other people that support and guide them with knowledge and experience.
  5. Be open for other people’s opinion, suggestions and vision.
    This is a prerequisite. Do you have a thick skin? There is no sugar coating in the business world. If you are offered feedback, accept criticism instead of denying the truths in it.
  6. Helping someone will never make things worse. Make an effort.
    Motivate the people around you. A person that believes in himself or herself, is more likely to work hard to live up to the hype you are creating. Be a mentor for those you see a lot of potential in, be a coach for the people who need to make things happen in the business and be a friend for peers.
  7. Don’t just strive for the success, but for the end goal.
    Success is temporarily. It is the significance of what you do that counts, not the success measured by the outside world’s parameters that you gained through a single ‘touchdown’.
  8. Sharing is the new gaining. Share something every day.
    Knowledge, results, positive feedback or even a ride. The smallest things can deliver a valuable experience to someone. This is a great way to establish relationships and collaboration.
  9. Talk to people not about people. Lead from the heart.
    Business is about people. If you have something to say, say it directly to the person involved. Don’t be afraid to show humanity and vulnerability. This will decrease the emotional distance between you and your (future) followers. There’s a big chance that scepticism will slowly change into belief.
  10. Give others the space they need.
    Give employees space to do their work, to develop or to test a strategy they believe in. Facilitate their professional needs. Empower them to peak in their performance and to lead in their area of expertise.

So I ask again, do you know the person you see in your mirror every day and his or her core believes? Believes are not something you decide on overnight or set your mind to. Authentic leadership requires a journey that writes your personal story. It started from the moment you decided you had a vision that you want to share with the world. Hopefully you realise that you will be on a never ending journey that is continuously steering and shaping your future leadership. Don’t be afraid to fail and don’t forget to enjoy it along the way! Discover not only what you believe, but – more important – why you believe it. Make a strong connection between your personal values and your behaviour. Together this will outline the principles you need to live by, so you can be a true leader to yourself and others. Always.

Original of this GREAT Article was written by Arjen van Berkum

Good Leaders understand and use Autonomy

I was coaching a number of C-Suite Leaders from a large multi-national a few weeks ago and part of our work included the topic of Autonomy and its importance to Leadership. Great discussions and feedback reminded me there are some assumptions and some blind spots with regard to autonomy.

Autonomy and Motivation

The level of autonomy is the degree to which an organisation or leader gives their people the discretion or independence to schedule their work and determine how it is to be done. It can also mean allowing them to determine which work to do, trusting them to select their solution to a problem using their understanding of organisational strategy in the context of the organisations vision and goals.

Autonomy is important to motivation, one of the top three people motivators in fact. It helps your people feel they have some say in what happens and that they can make a difference in the world.

Autonomy is a key part of empowerment and engagement so including it and using it as part of one’s Leadership style is very important.

In a bureaucratic or hierarchical organisation autonomy is limited. Not only is this de-motivational but it retards decision making, response times, service quality and people growth over time. The more decisions people can make the more they learn and grow. Sometimes people make mistakes. People make less mistakes with experience, and when supported by training and communication and an understanding of the goals and objectives even less. Autonomy also allows the growth of your next stage of leaders who take over when decision makes leave or go missing.

 

How much Autonomy is needed?

This is something to judge in context. There is a difference between delegation and abdication. Throwing someone in at the deep end can teach them to swim, but sometimes they drown.

A good leader will encourage autonomy in their people. They will make a decision about the level of risk suitable to the roles involved. They will look at risk and work to mitigate through mentoring and support. So it is a complex decision but in general there is not enough autonomy given. Leaders who keep intervening to fix the problem are often well meaning but this is not the best solution in the long term. Serving your team is about putting in place that which is needed for the team to thrive. Some leaders only give Autonomy to some of their people and often need to review how their perspective or opinion of some of their people (particularly those not being given autonomy) is influencing who gets autonomy and who does not. This can be a blind spot.

 

Leaderships own Autonomy

It is also a good exercise to examine one’s own relationship with autonomy. A Leader who has no autonomy is not a Leader.  He or she is a manager. In a bureaucratic organisation, a “leader” who is all about control and “the rules” cannot inspire or motivate or engage the people around him. If this person becomes about growing his or her people, about carving out autonomy and with resources, empowerment – then he or she becomes a leader.

On the other hand a leader who is overly focused on their own autonomy may have problems aligning with the organisations goals and objectives. This can become apparent when change happens and the organisation is forced to change direction. Sometimes these leaders become about their own power, whether this is used for their own ends or to protect their own team this can cause tensions in the organisation.

A key part of leadership growth is to become aware of their relationship with autonomy. Both their own and that of their people. Part of this relationship is often emotional and often this can be a part of mindfulness or awareness work.

Aidan Higgins

Leadership diseases – according to Pope Francis

Pope gives two thumbs up as he leaves general audience at VaticanPope Francis is gaining admiration for his Leadership Qualities, and his focus on service, his humility and his leading by example. As a leader he is at the head of a massive community and “corporation” going through huge change. He recently listed out things to be avoided by Leaders and called them diseases of Leadership. Translated by Professor Gary Hamel they are direct and to the Point and worth reading if only for comparison with your own style:

The leadership team is called constantly to improve and to grow in rapport and wisdom, in order to carry out fully its mission. And yet, like any body, like any human body, it is also exposed to diseases, malfunctioning, infirmity. Here I would like to mention some of these “

[leadership] diseases.” They are diseases and temptations which can dangerously weaken the effectiveness of any organization.

The disease of thinking we are immortal, immune, or downright indispensable, [and therefore] neglecting the need for regular check-ups. A leadership team which is not self-critical, which does not keep up with things, which does not seek to be more fit, is a sick body. A simple visit to the cemetery might help us see the names of many people who thought they were immortal, immune, and indispensable! It is the disease of those who turn into lords and masters, who think of themselves as above others and not at their service. It is the pathology of power and comes from a superiority complex, from a narcissism which passionately gazes at its own image and does not see the face of others, especially the weakest and those most in need. The antidote to this plague is humility; to say heartily, “I am merely a servant. I have only done what was my duty.”

Another disease is excessive busyness. It is found in those who immerse themselves in work and inevitably neglect to “rest a while.” Neglecting needed rest leads to stress and agitation. A time of rest, for those who have completed their work, is necessary, obligatory and should be taken seriously: by spending time with one’s family and respecting holidays as moments for recharging.

Then there is the disease of mental and [emotional] “petrification.” It is found in leaders who have a heart of stone, the “stiff-necked;” in those who in the course of time lose their interior serenity, alertness and daring, and hide under a pile of papers, turning into paper pushers and not men and women of compassion. It is dangerous to lose the human sensitivity that enables us to weep with those who weep and to rejoice with those who rejoice! Because as time goes on, our hearts grow hard and become incapable of loving all those around us. Being a humane leader means having the sentiments of humility and unselfishness, of detachment and generosity.

The disease of excessive planning and of functionalism. When a leader plans everything down to the last detail and believes that with perfect planning things will fall into place, he or she becomes an accountant or an office manager. Things need to be prepared well, but without ever falling into the temptation of trying to eliminate spontaneity and serendipity, which is always more flexible than any human planning. We contract this disease because it is easy and comfortable to settle in our own sedentary and unchanging ways.

The disease of poor coordination. Once leaders lose a sense of community among themselves, the body loses its harmonious functioning and its equilibrium; it then becomes an orchestra that produces noise: its members do not work together and lose the spirit of camaraderie and teamwork. When the foot says to the arm: ‘I don’t need you,’ or the hand says to the head, ‘I’m in charge,’ they create discomfort and parochialism.

There is also a sort of “leadership Alzheimer’s disease.” It consists in losing the memory of those who nurtured, mentored and supported us in our own journeys. We see this in those who have lost the memory of their encounters with the great leaders who inspired them; in those who are completely caught up in the present moment, in their passions, whims and obsessions; in those who build walls and routines around themselves, and thus become more and more the slaves of idols carved by their own hands.

The disease of rivalry and vainglory. When appearances, our perks, and our titles become the primary object in life, we forget our fundamental duty as leaders—to “do nothing from selfishness or conceit but in humility count others better than ourselves.” [As leaders, we must] look not only to [our] own interests, but also to the interests of others.

The disease of existential schizophrenia. This is the disease of those who live a double life, the fruit of that hypocrisy typical of the mediocre and of a progressive emotional emptiness which no [accomplishment or] title can fill. It is a disease which often strikes those who are no longer directly in touch with customers and “ordinary” employees, and restrict themselves to bureaucratic matters, thus losing contact with reality, with concrete people.

The disease of gossiping, grumbling, and back-biting. This is a grave illness which begins simply, perhaps even in small talk, and takes over a person, making him become a “sower of weeds” and in many cases, a cold-blooded killer of the good name of colleagues. It is the disease of cowardly persons who lack the courage to speak out directly, but instead speak behind other people’s backs. Let us be on our guard against the terrorism of gossip!

The disease of idolizing superiors. This is the disease of those who court their superiors in the hope of gaining their favor. They are victims of careerism and opportunism; they honor persons [rather than the larger mission of the organization]. They think only of what they can get and not of what they should give; small-minded persons, unhappy and inspired only by their own lethal selfishness. Superiors themselves can be affected by this disease, when they try to obtain the submission, loyalty and psychological dependency of their subordinates, but the end result is unhealthy complicity.

The disease of indifference to others. This is where each leader thinks only of himself or herself, and loses the sincerity and warmth of [genuine] human relationships. This can happen in many ways: When the most knowledgeable person does not put that knowledge at the service of less knowledgeable colleagues, when you learn something and then keep it to yourself rather than sharing it in a helpful way with others; when out of jealousy or deceit you take joy in seeing others fall instead of helping them up and encouraging them.

The disease of a downcast face. You see this disease in those glum and dour persons who think that to be serious you have to put on a face of melancholy and severity, and treat others—especially those we consider our inferiors—with rigor, brusqueness and arrogance. In fact, a show of severity and sterile pessimism are frequently symptoms of fear and insecurity. A leader must make an effort to be courteous, serene, enthusiastic and joyful, a person who transmits joy everywhere he goes. A happy heart radiates an infectious joy: it is immediately evident! So a leader should never lose that joyful, humorous and even self-deprecating spirit which makes people amiable even in difficult situations. How beneficial is a good dose of humor! …

The disease of hoarding. This occurs when a leader tries to fill an existential void in his or her heart by accumulating material goods, not out of need but only in order to feel secure. The fact is that we are not able to bring material goods with us when we leave this life, since “the winding sheet does not have pockets” and all our treasures will never be able to fill that void; instead, they will only make it deeper and more demanding. Accumulating goods only burdens and inexorably slows down the journey!

The disease of closed circles, where belonging to a clique becomes more powerful than our shared identity. This disease too always begins with good intentions, but with the passing of time it enslaves its members and becomes a cancer which threatens the harmony of the organization and causes immense evil, especially to those we treat as outsiders. “Friendly fire” from our fellow soldiers, is the most insidious danger. It is the evil which strikes from within. As it says in the bible, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste.”

Lastly: the disease of extravagance and self-exhibition. This happens when a leader turns his or her service into power, and uses that power for material gain, or to acquire even greater power. This is the disease of persons who insatiably try to accumulate power and to this end are ready to slander, defame and discredit others; who put themselves on display to show that they are more capable than others. This disease does great harm because it leads people to justify the use of any means whatsoever to attain their goal, often in the name of justice and transparency! Here I remember a leader who used to call journalists to tell and invent private and confidential matters involving his colleagues. The only thing he was concerned about was being able to see himself on the front page, since this made him feel powerful and glamorous, while causing great harm to others and to the organization.

Friends, these diseases are a danger for every leader and every organization, and they can strike at the individual and the community levels.

____________________
Professor Hamel suggests you use the Pope’s inventory of leadership maladies to find out if you are a healthy leader.
Ask yourself, on a scale of 1 to 5, to what extent do I . . .

Feel superior to those who work for me?
Demonstrate an imbalance between work and other areas of life?
Substitute formality for true human intimacy?
Rely too much on plans and not enough on intuition and improvisation?
Spend too little time breaking silos and building bridges?
Fail to regularly acknowledge the debt I owe to my mentors and to others?
Take too much satisfaction in my perks and privileges?
Isolate myself from customers and first-level employees?
Denigrate the motives and accomplishments of others?
Exhibit or encourage undue deference and servility?
Put my own success ahead of the success of others?
Fail to cultivate a fun and joy-filled work environment?
Exhibit selfishness when it comes to sharing rewards and praise?
Encourage parochialism rather than community?
Behave in ways that seem egocentric to those around me?

As in all health matters, it’s good to get a second or third opinion. Ask your colleagues to score you on the same fifteen items. Don’t be surprised if they say, “Gee boss, you’re not looking too good today.” Like a battery of medical tests, these questions can help you zero in on opportunities to prevent disease and improve your health. A Papal leadership assessment may seem like a bit of a stretch. But remember: the responsibilities you hold as a leader, and the influence you have over others’ lives, can be profound. Why not turn to the Pope — a spiritual leader of leaders — for wisdom and advice?

Adapted from the Original Article by Gary Hamel – Harvard Business Review – Original Article

Calculating the Market Value of Leadership

leadership300Leadership is critically important to company performance. Putting a value on it may lead to greater investment in leadership development as a result of a change in priorities for resource allocation.

In recent years, investors have learned that defining the market value of a firm cannot just be based on finances. These financial outcomes have been found to predict only about 50% of a firm’s market value. Another challenge is that this financial information has become widely known and shared, meaning that the investor insights it affords are hardly unique.

To gain more insights into a specific firm, investors have shown more interest in intangibles like strategy, brand, innovation, systems integration, collaboration, and so on. Investors have also worked to track and measure these intangibles, even if more subjective. The next step for investors is to analyze the predictors and drivers of these intangible factors — which means focusing on leadership.

Wise, long term investors recognize that leadership affects firm performance. But too often, assessments of leadership are haphazard and narrow. For instance, in our research, we found that investors allocate about 30% of their decision making based on quality of leadership, and they have much less confidence in their ability to assess leadership than in their assessments of financial or intangible performance. Investors may say “this leader is charismatic, has a vision, or treats people well” but there is little analysis behind what has often become a “gut feel” approach.

Numerous studies have shed light on what good leadership is; synthesizing this research into useful insights for investors would help counteract intuitive leadership assessments. A leadership capital index would inform investors about the readiness of the firm’s leadership to meet business challenges.

The leadership ratings index we have developed has two dimensions, or domains: individual and organizational.

Individual refers to the personal qualities (competencies, traits, characteristics) of both the top leader and the key leadership team in the organization.

Organizational refers to the systems these leaders create to manage leadership throughout the organization and the application of organization systems to specific business conditions.

Individual:

  1. Personal proficiency: To what extent do leaders demonstrate the personal qualities to be an effective leader (e.g. intellectual, emotional, social, physical, and ethical behaviors)?
  2. Strategist: To what extent do leaders articulate a point of view about the future and accordingly adjust the firm’s strategic positioning?
  3. Executor: To what extent do leaders make things happen and deliver as promised?
  4. People manager: To what extent do leaders build competence, commitment, and contribution of their people today and tomorrow?
  5. Leadership differentiator: To what extent do leaders behave consistent with customer expectations?

Organizational:

  1. Culture capability: To what extent do leaders create a customer-focused culture throughout the organization?
  2. Talent management: To what extent do leaders manage the flow of talent into, through, and out of the organization?
  3. Performance accountability: to what extent do leaders create performance management practices that reinforce the right behaviors?
  4. Information: To what extent do leaders manage information flow throughout the organization (e.g., from top to bottom, bottom to top, and side to side)?
  5. Work practices: To what extent do leaders establish organization and governance that deal with the increasing pace of change in today’s business setting?

 

While it may not be easy to precisely track each of these 10 elements, when investors include them in interviews, observations, surveys, and reports, they will dramatically increase their ability to realize full firm value.

Boards of directors can have a more thorough process for evaluating the quality of leadership within their organization. C-suite executives who have primary responsibility for firm value can include leadership as part of this discussion. Leadership development specialists charged with developing leaders can focus less on personal characteristics of leaders and more how investors might view them.

Realizing the market value of leadership could also have a significant impact on many organization processes: risk management, governance, social responsibility, reputation, and leadership development. Each of these processes could be upgraded with a disciplined and through approach to assessing leadership.

Transitioning from a “gut feel” or narrow assessment of leadership to an index that can start to predict the impact leaders have on intangible value creation changes the game of leadership assessment and development.

The leadership capital index will help investors and others improve their approach to firm valuation. When leadership capital becomes a factor in investor judgments, it will naturally receive more emphasis in day-to-day corporate life, to the benefit of many. It is now time for investors and others to use a leadership capital index.

Adapted from an original article by David Ulrich and Allan Freed , HBR April 2015

Original Article here

How to improve leadership skills with Emotional Intelligence

Leadership and Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence is key to Leadership

When corporate leaders struggle with team relationships, it’s often a question of people taking the time to understand one another. In order to overcome this common leadership challenge, it’s often helpful to take a look at a leader’s “emotional intelligence.” While companies look for intelligent, capable individuals to promote into leadership positions, sometimes awareness of emotional factors can play a huge role in how effectively that person leads a team of people.

Emotional Intelligence ( EI ) is the capacity a leader has to effectively perceive, express, understand and manage emotions in an effective and appropriate manner. Research has proven that EI is a strong predictor of success in the workplace, more so than IQ, skill sets, personality and experience. In essence, EI equals interpersonal effectiveness, and the more effective a leader is with others, the more successful that leader will be.

Enhancing and developing greater awareness and application of EI will have a significant impact on all aspects of your life, including more self-awareness and improved relationships with co-workers, family, friends and others who are significant in your life. Leaders who improve their EI capabilities are able to decrease stress, personally and professionally, enhance interpersonal relationships, and demonstrate greater leadership and decision making skills. Even more important, raising EI has a direct and positive effect on your level of consciousness. When one raises their level of awareness, they raise their energy level and their consciousness.

Here are a few tips to improve leadership skills with greater Emotional Intelligence:

1. Begin by taking notice of how your thoughts affect your emotions, and how your emotions affect your actions. Self-awareness is the key to beginning to shift your energy and increase your EI. As you go through your day, be aware of how you react to situations, and what thoughts are going through your head as you do. If someone cuts you off on the road, and your thought is, “What an idiot!” your resulting emotion would be anger. If you think instead, “Wow, he must really be in a hurry to get someplace,” your emotion would most likely be very different. As you become more self-aware, you’ll be able to identify what triggers your emotions.

2. Keep a Leadership Journal or notebook about areas to improve your awareness and expression of your emotions. What is working, and what is not working for you? What relationships need improvement? This step helps one commit as well as shows a progression of that change.

3. Journal about ways to manage and control your emotions. What has been effective for you, and what has not? How do you want to respond and how can you do so?

4. Each day, set your intention to be more aware of your thoughts/feelings and how they might affect you and/or others.

5. When a leadership struggle or situation causes you to be angry or upset, give yourself 5-10 minutes alone, prior to taking action. Then ask yourself what would be the best way to address the situation. Think about the energy level at which you would like to respond. Taking a little break will help you respond as you would like, not just go with your ‘knee-jerk’ reaction.

6. Seek out others who will assist you (maybe a mentor), objectively, in providing observations of how they experience you expressing and /or managing/controlling your emotions within leadership situations. You might be surprised at how others view you.

7. Tell others you want to increase your understanding of their thoughts and feelings and “check-in” with them periodically – this will help you become more aware of your perceptions as a leader versus the reality of their feelings.

8. After getting buy-in, think about offering feedback to those around you about their emotional awareness, expression and management.

9. Practice incorporating new leadership skills and behaviors and being aware of how others respond to you.

10. Interview others who demonstrate high EI and effective leadership techniques, to learn some of their strategies for responding to stressful situations.

11. If necessary, hire a professional coach. Coaching is about an honest, trusting, open and committed partnership designed to help you reach your goals faster, more productively and you’ll achieve greater balance in your work and life.

I hope these tips will help you focus on your understanding and your ability to monitor your own and other people’s emotions and use this emotional information to guide your thinking, behavior and relations with others.

Original Article by Brad Parcells in peopledevelopmentmagazine.com

Putting your Heart into Leadership – Emotional Intelligence

Emotional-Intelligence-heart-in-headLeadership and Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

Emotional Intelligence is also referred to as our Emotional Intelligence Quotient or the degree to which our emotional intelligence is developed. For many years we have known about and used IQ (Intelligence Quotient) as a measure of our personal effectiveness and ability to deal with problems of varying degrees of complexity.

So what is emotional intelligence?

Freedman et al defines it as follows:

‘Emotional Intelligence is a way of recognising, understanding, and choosing how we think, feel, and act. It shapes our interactions with others and our understanding of ourselves. It defines how and what we learn; it allows us to set priorities; it determines the majority of our daily actions. Research suggests it is responsible for as much as 80% of the “success” in our lives.’

From ‘Handle with Care: Emotional Intelligence Activity Book’

David Caruso gives us a slightly different definition:

‘It is very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of heart over head — it is the unique intersection of both.’

From ‘Emotional What?’

If we combine these definitions we can infer that when we develop and utilise our capacity for Emotional Intelligence we increase our opportunity for success and integrate our heart and our head which enables us to deal with any given situation in a more comprehensive manner. It also encourages the integration of our conscious and unconscious minds which results in a more congruent and balanced approach to life.

In our experience of coaching and developing CEO’s, Directors and Senior Managers we often find that the key blockage to their sustainable success is their difficulty in achieving this integration. This can isolate parts of the workforce.

In addition like tends to attract like, so if there is a leader in the business who spends most of their time in their heads then they will tend to ‘attract’ similar people to them. The same applies to those leaders who come from their heart as they will also ‘attract’ similarly biased people.

For leaders a well developed degree of emotional intelligence is fundamental for success. Think about it:

‘Who is more likely to be successful, a leader who berates and shouts at the team when under stress, or a leader who remains in control, is calm and takes the time to review and understand a situation in a calm manner?’

To ensure that the maximum numbers of people are ‘attracted’ to you as a leader it is essential that you are able to integrate your mind and heart to project a balanced personality.

This then is the relationship between Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and Leadership. Those leaders with a more highly developed EQ will by definition appeal to a wider audience and as such will tend to be more effective as more followers will commit to and support them.  For leaders emotional intelligence is fundamental for success and needs to be  a well developed.

Emotional Intelligence was brought to a wider audience by Daniel Goleman who is an, an American psychologist and authored a bestselling book in 1995 which was titled ‘Emotional Intelligence’. He stated that there are five key aspects to Emotional Intelligence that underpin effective leadership.

These key aspects are as follows:

  1. Self-awareness.
  2. Self-regulation.
  3. Motivation.
  4. Empathy.
  5. Social skills.

The degree to which leaders manage these aspects will determine the level of their own emotional intelligence. So, let’s look at each element in more detail and examine how you can grow as a leader.

The more self-aware you are the more you will understand the impact your own emotions and actions will have on those around you. Those with a higher level of self awareness will be aware of their own strengths and weaknesses and will also behave with a degree of humility.

From self awareness comes the innate ability to regulate your behaviour and effectively get in front of your own instinctive responses. This will allow you to think before you act and thus have the head and heart to work together in a joined up and integrated manner. There are several techniques for achieving this.

This change in behaviour increases levels of self confidence and self assurance and as a result drives up self motivation. Leaders who are self motivated will work consistently towards their vision and will set themselves very high standards with regard to the quality of the work they produce.

The delivery of this work will often rely on other people, either within the immediate team or outside of it. In order for a leader to engage with others in an effective, productive and meaningful way demands that they work with empathy. An empathetic leader will be able to put themselves in another person’s position or situation. They will be able to deliver effective feedback as a result and will show up as a good listener.

In many ways the ability to empathise is about developing your social skills. Leaders who develop high levels of social skills are generally effective communicators. They will listen to good and bad news alike and will engage with their teams to enlist support and will raise response potential and create a real ‘buzz’ in the work place.

In this type of culture change is managed effectively and conflict is resolved in an adult manner. Emotionally intelligent leaders relish change and are not prepared to sit back and have everyone else do the work for them.

They lead by example and demonstrate industry, effective relationships and communication as well as encouraging and enthusing their direct reports.

To sum up, leaders must have a sound awareness of their emotions and how the way in which those emotions are enacted will affect their teams. Tuning into and growing your emotional intelligence will help you excel even more in the future.

Original article by Tony Wright  – peopledevelopmentmagazine.com

Using Emotional Intelligence to improve business performance and culture

IMG_0968All business owners face the challenges of keeping employees motivated and engaged, ensuring good communication and helping to avoid conflict, whether the company is going through a time of change or not. For a small company this can be even harder, as they are often so focused on the day to day running of the business they can forget to support the most important factor in the business – their people. It goes without saying that running a small company can be both challenging and stressful. Often money is tight, which can create a sense of urgency and survival, and the corporate support structure is not available for employees. Yes, business success in a small company often relies on people performing multiple roles and going the extra mile. Employees need to be motivated and engaged to do this. Business owners may or may not have heard of the term Emotional Intelligence (EQ) – but most won’t have had time to consider what it could mean to their business or simply dismiss it as too touchy-feely or they think it’s related to the Intelligence Quotient (IQ).

In a small business it’s critical for people to manage their own impulses, communicate with others effectively, manage change well, solve problems and build rapport in tense situations. They also need empathy, and to remain optimistic even in the face of adversity. This “clarity” in thinking and “composure” in stressful and difficult situations is called ‘emotional intelligence’ and it is becoming increasingly important for SME business owners to understand this as an important business tool.

Research shows Emotional Intelligence is twice as important as IQ in predicting outstanding performance and EQ can be developed until well into our 40’s, so regardless if we are born as a leader or not, we can improve our performance by improving our EQ.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to recognise, understand and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others in an organisation. When you have high emotional intelligence you can recognise and understand your own emotional state and the emotional states of others and then use this knowledge to relate better, manage better and achieve greater success.
Emotional Intelligence consists of four attributes:
· Self- awareness – The ability to recognise and name your own emotions, and how they affect your thoughts and behaviours. It helps you understand objectively and accept your strengths and weaknesses. As a result you have more self-confidence.
· Self-management – The ability to control impulsive feelings and behaviours, demonstrate and manage your emotions in healthy ways and take initiative and follow through in commitments.
· Social awareness – The ability to understand others point of view, their emotions, concerns, and needs, and show empathy.
· Relationship management – The ability of using social awareness to build and maintain good relationships, to communicate clearly, inspire and influence others, and manage conflict effectively.

Emotional intelligence can enable a SME business owner to build a high performing team and a great working culture, by improving the way they communicate, build relationships and create a positive working environment. In any company, conflict can lower performance. It affects wellbeing and focus and can create unnecessary stress. Having a good performing team is critical for the success of any company, but particularly small businesses, as teams are smaller and work closer together, often being more sensitive to conflict or emotional situations, as a result.

Becoming an emotionally intelligent leader

By becoming an emotionally intelligent leader you can motivate and inspire the people working for you, to work better, and be more fulfilled at work. Emotional intelligence can help business owners solve their retention and morale problems, improve information flow, getting people working better together and driving forward business objectives.
Emotionally intelligent leaders are self aware, they know their strength and areas of development, and they know how their behaviour affects others, and they can manage their emotions effectively.
In the past, emotions were often thought of as a set of characteristics that needed to be controlled as they demonstrated weakness and instability. It was believed that focusing on the task was the only way to increase efficiency.

However, now we know that in order to function professionally, we have to acknowledge and manage our own emotions and others to encourage smooth communication and avoid conflicts.

Managing emotions

Managing emotions though does not mean simply bottling them up or ignoring them, as this can often lead to stress. The consequence of employees bottling or ignoring emotions can lead to petty conflicts in the workplace which eventually spiral out of control.

In 1995, Daniel Goleman described emotional intelligence as knowing how one is feeling and being able to handle those feelings without becoming swamped; being able to motivate oneself to get jobs done; being creative and performing at one’s peak; sensing what others are feeling and handling relationships effectively. So how can we develop emotional intelligence? The reality is that some people are better than others at reading their own and other’s emotions, however, unlike IQ, emotional intelligence can be developed if a business owner is prepared to implement some strategies.

Here are some tips to increase your emotional intelligence and that of your team.
· Ask for feedback, get to know your own strengths and weaknesses
· Pay attention to your team, notice their mindset, and emotional state
· Encourage open and honest communication
· Take the time to acknowledge and thank your team for their effort

The original article was sourced from Business Matters Magazine