It’s not your dad’s management anymore – 4 ways to bring flexibility into your leadership

Jane’s been guest posting over at the Lead Change Group blog (a place where you’ll regularly find lots of good insights, especially into character-based leadership) so you’ll find this article there, too!

leadership isn't a speciality areaY

1) Reframe how you think about your role. Many leaders tend to over-rely on a strength (say, driving for accomplishments) and under-use its opposite[2] (collaborating and creating cohesion). That’s when all sorts of problems arise because the over-used strength has now become a weakness. Here’s where you apply the Goldilocks principle of getting it just right – like skillfully pressing for results while treating people like people instead of machines.

2) Be kind and hold people accountable. A good leader expects his people to achieve their objectives; and when they fall short, the performance gap is discussed considerately so their self-esteem and self-worth remain intact. We all fall short from time to time and rarely benefit from being labeled an idiot or worse by an uncaring boss. It’s the leader who coaches us to better performance and who does so with compassion that we’ll follow off the cliff.

3) Understand it’s not your dad’s management anymore. Command and control may create short-term compliance at the expense of long-term resentment and disengagement. Awareness and agility are needed to deal with a world that’s constantly changing, perpetually connected and well-informed. An effective leader wants a broad repertoire of knowledge, skills, abilities and behaviors in her toolkit.

4) It’s all about context. At some point in coaching programs and development workshops, someone typically points out that I’m advocating that they be inconsistent and manipulative. Puh-lease. I’ll concede that it does take more time, effort and awareness to be directive and flexible, decisive and sensitive. Recognizing that one-size-leadership doesn’t fit all circumstances isn’t being capricious, it’s being smart.

A character-based leader willingly incorporates the dualities of leading in a complex world – monitor and mentor, producer and facilitator, doing good and doing well. What say you?

Duality image from Unwrapping Minds
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