Should they be in charge? (Assessing leadership)

Should they be in charge? (Assessing leadership)

2 months ago 0 0 124

The Australian opposition just selected as new leader, and the UK Tories are currently starting the process of finding a leader to replace Ms. May and take them forward. It is likely that the people selected for these roles are not chosen on their ‘ability to lead’, but rather may other elements.  In a ‘perfect world’, how do we go about assessing leadership, both in current leaders and leadership aspirants?  In truth, people are routinely terrible at identifying and selecting great leaders. Whilst we are desperate to identify them, install them and even emulate them, knowing what will make a great leader is fraught with human error. In our desire to find and become great leaders, we often get sucked into the myth that is the cult of leadership. Why are we suckers for the cult of leadership? Humans seem to have a need to raise onto pedestals people who

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Leadership in the dark – leading in tough times

4 years ago 0 0 1553

When things are going well, leadership can be a joy. The conversation is mostly about enhancing performance, how to build people into their capacity and drive success. We see those we lead reach for their potential and grow personally and professionally. No wonder people aspire to leadership. But it is not always like that. There are times of crisis, tragedy and difficulty which require outstanding leadership to manage. Leadership will stop being fun, but it never stops being critically important. In leadership programs the focus is heavily upon how an individual can be a great leader, and creating extraordinary success. Often the ‘dark side’ of leadership is either glossed over or simply ignored. It is not fun, or sexy, to lead at such times, and the importance of it is rarely reflected upon. Sometimes the best that leadership can offer is just to help others cope, to get them through

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Empowered leadership through storytelling

4 years ago 0 0 1272

A core attribute of outstanding leadership is the ability to tell stories.  Stories are the human currency of social connection, and empower engagement, change and personal development, all which are key aspects of being a great leader. I remember once I was working in a highly technical field.  A bright young ‘up and comer’ returned from presenting to the executive board, looking deflated and dejected. ‘Not only did I not get the project approved’, he said, ‘ they nit picked every detail.’  I asked him to take me through the presentation- maybe I could help him? After the first minute or so it was clear that his 106 slides of data for a 20 minute presentation was probably not the way to go, so I gently stopped him, and said: “It reminds me of a time when I had to ask the executive board for 50 Million Euros capex in

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Sabotage strategies that derail success

4 years ago 0 0 875

Are your strategic choices setting you up for success? One of the core principles of leadership is to ensure that strategies are put into action to assist people in creating high value actions which can help the organisation deliver upon its goals.  However, too often we fall into the trap of pursuing strategies which do not lead us to success, but instead lead us away from it.  You may be using ‘sabotage strategies’ – without even realising it. What is a ‘strategy’ anyway? Strategy is often defined as “a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim”.  However, to understand the true value of strategies, we need to start with an understanding of what an individual’s ‘long term or overall aim’ actually is. Strategy which is purely based around an organisation’s purpose or mission allows the organisation to move forward, driving high performance in its areas of

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Do you need to change how you change?

4 years ago 0 0 1226

 Are you, and those you lead, scared of the idea change? Do you recognise the need for change, but wonder how you can make your change program successful when so many other change programs, started with the best of intent, simply fail? Why is change so hard, and how can we ensure change programs succeed? Understanding the need to change: Change is inevitable.  Even with a highly successful organisation, change needs to happen as things around them evolve.  Things inside and outside the organisation change, and over time the requirement to change just to keep up, let alone ‘stay ahead’ gets bigger and bigger.  New technology, new processes, new customer requirements, new competitors, new regulations and even new social norms can rapidly turn today’s success into tomorrow’s obsolecence Because change is inevitable, we just need to decide if we will adapt to change, lead change, or become obsolete (there is

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Rule 1 For Great Leadership: Don’t buy into the myths

4 years ago 0 0 2223

I was driving my son to a music lesson, and I asked him an interesting question (we always have interesting conversations in the car!).  The question was “When someone says they are a leader, what assumptions do you automatically make?”.  Whilst it is easy to talk about leadership, we rarely look at the assumptions that we make when discussing leadership and how to be a great leader. For example, if you follow any discussion on social media or listen to a presentation at any conference on ‘leadership’, then often the unspoken assumptions about leaders and leadership are trotted out –  and never questioned.   This simply strengthens the myth.  The current political landscape is a clear example of how the ‘myths’ of leadership are simply accepted without question – and can get the leaders, and those they lead, into trouble. The myths of leadership can get in the way of creating

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The 8 things which will create a perfect storm in your business

4 years ago 0 0 1616

So you have done the company survey, or listened by the coffee machine.  It seems like the jungle drums are beating, and the natives are restless.  The executive team gets together and asks themselves “How did we get like this?”, and wonder at the emerging signs that the culture and engagement strategies have failed. What organisations often find is that the company is not living its stated values, the staff are hardly engaged and the culture has devolved to something just more civil than a cage fight.  And you wondered where your performance had gone? Does this sound familiar?  Too often issues with engagement and culture are identified after these problems are having a real impact on the business and its results.  So many organisations find themselves in trouble and wonder both how they got there, and how to get themselves out. Unfortunately, many organisations find themselves in the perfect

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Leading tribes: Leadership secrets you need to know

4 years ago 0 0 1612

How do you ‘define’ yourself?  If you were to list five things that describe you, what would they be? It is human nature to want to be in tribes, and to define ourselves by the tribes that we belong to, the ones we aspire to, and the ones that we want to distance ourselves from. “I would not dream of belonging to a club that is willing to have me as a member” [Goucho Marx] Knowing the social psychology of how we behave in tribes can help us really understand aspects of our culture, behaviour and even how we can be better leaders.  It can help us understand what drives extremism, group think, innovation and fads.  We all belong to many tribes and this act of belonging can influence us in powerful ways. Understanding human tribal behaviour is critical for businesses to understand their customers, for leaders to understand their

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Releasing the people potential

4 years ago 0 0 795

I was working with a senior international business leader recently and his sense was that we are almost on another ‘tipping point’ in business – he keeps hiring great people, but most of his efforts to create synergies and really get the best of his people seem to fail.  He sees that we should be able to turn great people into great teams and drive great results, but for some reason we just can’t get there.  He envisions a new ‘world’ where people can get on and really unleash their potential to drive performance. He was expressing that there must be a ‘better way’ to lead people, and to get results.  He was also expressing a ‘frustration’ that the way forward was not apparent to him, and that everything he did just  didn’t seem to change anything. From what I experience in so many organisations, I can see what he

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Decisions – in your wheelhouse or out of your comfort zone?

4 years ago 0 0 1174

There are many times that people fail to make decisions, or make decisions that they just should not. Sometimes deciding not to decide is a great course of action, and sometimes it is harmful because things that need to happen cannot. Understanding how you make decisions, and why you take some decisions and avoid others, is a critical function of a great leader. Putting it simply, leaders understand the difference in a decision that is ‘not in their wheelhouse’ (not a decision that they should take) versus one not in their comfort zone (one they are scared to take). This relates to individuals as well as teams. I have seen individuals rush to take decisions that they should never have taken which have led to catastrophic outcomes in the business.  Often this has to do with ‘agitation management’- the person feels out of control, so they rush to take actions

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