A little bit of leadership does go a long way.
Are you currently working with someone who you admire and respect as a leader? Have they been able to provide guidance to you and your organization as they navigate change and work hard to keep up with the rush and crush of challenges and opportunities? What traits stand out to you?
Over the course of my career, I have been blessed to work with great leadership. Some of the leaders were managers, chief executive officers, or business owners, all who provided terrific insights and contributed wisdom that furthered my own leadership journey. Other leaders were part of business groups, mentoring and coaching relationships, and some were, and are, close friends.
Through my experiences and through these relationships, here’s one of the lessons that I learned and have shared with people who have been a part of the teams I have personally led. It’s something that was demonstrated to me by some of the most influential managers and leaders I had the privilege of working with. It’s the idea of providing people with information that they can put to use immediately to help solve a problem, increase performance, and improve productivity. Not information overload, or simply theory, but actionable guidance that slowly builds the strengths and capabilities of individuals over a sustained period of time as they practice and apply the guidance given.
Why is this relevant, especially now? It’s relevant now because the expectations put on individuals and organizations has never been greater. And that means that the pressure on leadership is escalating at an equal to, or even amplified rate. And we need to take the pressure off of both.
Our ability to receive and deliver leadership in small doses will do more than just provide guidance, it will accelerate success. Life is moving fast; business is moving faster. There is this need for speed that is driving many decisions that we face at home and at work. The way that we achieve proficiency and the best way for us to help those on our teams to become proficient, and do so at the speed of expectation, is to layer in guidance at the pace that we can absorb strategies and skills. Doing so will turn those strategies and skills into tactical applications in whatever role we play.
Here’s the other thing, many of the leadership skills or competencies that characterize some of the greatest leaders throughout history are the same skills and competencies that we use in our everyday lives such as; communication; creativity; the ability to earn, build, and maintain trust; taking action; courage; goal setting; decision making; time management; organization; setting proper expectations; inspecting what is expected; accountability; and living and working with integrity. Pick any one of these traits that need attention, work on it, and then move on to the next.
Another supporting lesson I learned along the way is that we really can make radical changes in small action-oriented steps.
“Have a bias towards action — let’s see something happen now. You can break that big plan into small steps and take the first step right away.” — Indira Gandhi
And Jack Welch tied this idea together when he said, “An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage.” Teaching an actionable strategy or skill and providing an environment for practice that leads to proficiency is what leads to lasting change. The kind of positive change that inspires confidence and trust in leadership.
How about you? Are there strategies and techniques that you would like to develop for yourself or share with your team? Do you have leadership knowledge that can be captured and delivered in smaller doses to help accelerate success? I would love to hear your story at firstname.lastname@example.org and when we realize that we can impact positive and lasting change through a little bit of leadership, it really will be a better than good week.
09.30.20 | Michael Norton