Friday, June 26, 2015

Leadership is a Mindset

Leadership is first as an advanced mindset, then as exemplary behavior.

Leadership is about CHANGE. It is a basic human ability to inspire self and others to look beyond limitations and make continuous improvement. This ability becomes a capability if we constantly nurture our basic human instincts of HUMILITY, CURIOSITY, and CREATIVITY. Fundamentally, is leadership an action or a mindset? Is it more about today or the future?  What are you and your organization doing to learn and improve leadership capabilities?

It is imperative that the elements of leadership be valued. Far too often the term "leadership" is thrown around loosely and without any regard to the true meaning. Leadership is about developing people not managing them. It is a mindset that requires commitment from the very top of an organization all the way to the bottom without exception. Therefore, it is imperative that "leadership" be re-imagined, explored, understood and embraced for it to be of any value. The substances of leadership are about vision, positive influence, and progression. There is no single leadership style, but rather many that can be used and in many instances, several can be morphed to fit the style required to accomplish the organizational mission. The key is finding the right people to apply the correct style when needed. A good leader can adjust on the fly in any given circumstance and apply as needed.

The elements of leadership must evolve with the needs of the organization as well as the people. No two people are alike just as no one person remains the same. Leadership must meet those requirements and adjust accordingly. It is leadership quality that top management needs to understand in order to allow leadership to flourish when developing people within an organization. They cannot hide in the C-suite and hope that all turns out for the best. They have to believe in leadership, be a part of leadership and drive leadership. Leaders have to make a conscious choice to continuously learn, practice and improve upon the leadership quality and influence. Remember, leadership isn't a job title; leadership really is a character and personal development, you must continue to learn and improve upon the leadership capabilities. All organizations have a duty to develop leadership qualities, with all individuals who are holding positions if they are asked to manage others. So many organizations wait until the people are put into "leadership" positions to be introduced to the elements of leadership. These organizations set themselves up for failure by following this mindset.

TO DEVELOP LEADERS, YOU HAVE TO LET THEM LEAD. In other words, you can do all of the training you want to do, but if you don't let them get some practical experience at leading, they don't get to apply what they learned. Specifically, identify the right minds and personalities, and provide leadership training to those folks. Look for the character with service to others attitude. Leadership training is not management training. Leaders are both nature and nurtured. They are taught specific skill sets that build teams, create depth in future replacements, effect change, strengthen cohesiveness, strategize effective action plans that materialize the vision. They learn to serve.

Leadership training has to be tailored to be value-added and inspiring: All specific development programs which have a direct impact on the area’s growth and effectiveness are initiated, managed, and refined by the area leadership. All training/ development initiatives which have a major impact on the culture of the organization are steered by the top leadership via leading by example, ensuring resources, demanding compliance through formal systems, and providing feedback along the way. Initiatives like strength-based training and deployment are of major cultural transformation implications, and the top leadership can’t walk away just after initial sermonizing. They are there for the long haul. This is the discipline that all leaders at the top and at other levels of the organizations need to embrace and display to make training/development programs not only value-added but also inspiring.

Leadership is first as a mindset, then as exemplary behavior. Leadership is more about future but starts today. "Leadership" is something that needs to be believed in and embraced at every level of an organization. To implement results-based leadership within the organization, using internal tools to develop leadership champions at different levels, utilize cultural psychometrics to highlight strengths and weaknesses, use big and small data that has passed through multi-levels of evaluation, to constantly evolve and develop a virtuous hybrid spiral of results based leadership evaluation. You can become an effective leader if you put constant effort to nourish these three human instincts that are innate: humility, curiosity and creativity, and inspire the positive changes in the organization and our society.


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