There is a widespread tendency to over-complicate leadership theory & practise. It’s not necessary, there is no mystery. Let’s consider the essence.
Q – Who makes a leader?
A – Followers – leadership can’t be taken, it can only be given.
Q – What are leaders for?
A – Delivering results. Period.
Q – How do leaders do that?
A – By releasing discretionary effort in their followers.
Q – So what distinguishes exemplary leaders?
A – They win near universal followership – the more followers, the more aggregate discretionary effort.
A – They release optimum levels of discretionary effort.
Q – How do leaders win broad followership?
A – Through Grace – triggering positive emotions in others…
A – …including by demonstrating competence…
A – …and especially when holding followers to account.
Q – What qualities does that require a leader to have?
A – Empathy
A – Resonance
A – Optimism
A – High self esteem
Q – How do leaders optimise discretionary effort?
A – Through Grace
A – Being guided by evidence and logic
A – Knowing when to direct, mentor, coach, consult, or give free rein
A – Operating as appropriate via sharing their vision, coaching individually, enabling teams, and/or building consensus
A – Judging when to take an active lead and executing on that with courage.
Q – What do exemplary leaders always do?
A – Praise, encourage, recognise, respect
A – Hold others to account, objectively, courageously, with Grace
A – Inspire, explain, enable
A – Confidence and humility.
Q – What else do exemplary leaders do?
A – Win support from peers and bosses
A – Secure the resources their followers need
A – Spend time thinking things through.
Q – What about engagement?
A – Engagement is another word for high levels of discretionary effort
A – It focuses on the need for people to see getting their own goals and achieving the company’s objectives as congruent
A – Which is part of inspiring followers through a shared vision
A – And an element of Grace.
Q – If in doubt?
A – Grace in all things with everybody.
And that’s the simplest and most powerful leadership concept there is.
Copyright 2021 All Rights Reserved - Graham Keen