Have You Mastered the 4 Leadership Fundamentals?
“He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk,” began the quote by Nietzsche. Having trained both leaders and those with leadership potential over a number of years, we’ve designed our very own Leadership Fundamentals Programme or LFP with the overall objective of soaring to new heights in leadership.
Let’s take a closer look at the programme’s 4 Leadership Fundamentals in turn, what you can do to master them over time, and how and your organisation stand to benefit from your mastery.
Becoming a good leader means being able to build sustainable relationships with peers and teams, understanding their personal behaviours and adapting to different, individual styles.
Writing for the Educause Review, Beth Schaefer notes the importance of regarding your organisation as a community, working toward common goals and sharing the same values as one way to build relationships at work. It’s important to define these goals and values clearly so as to be able to guide everyone in the community.
As a leader, you have to want to provide that guidance, and be responsible for seeing that everyone reaches your goals, together. To do this, you’ll have to motivate your team and create a trusting and supportive environment as they will need to support and trust you.
As you continue to connect with team members, keep an eye on how the relationships between you, yourself and others or between others on your team can either be maintained or strengthened. This involves recognising individual personalities and capabilities, asking questions that really matter, and really listening to the answers.
This, in turn, means that you, as well as your team, will need good communication skills. Making sure that everyone is on the same page will help improve your group dynamics and teamwork, putting your common values into action and making your organisational goals that much more attainable.
Leaders have to master resilience in dealing with uncertainty and changes at work and beyond.
Research indicates how your ability to lead your team through change hinges on your ability to acknowledge and control your own reactions to a change as it comes. After all, how will you be able to answer the questions and allay any fears that usually come with change, and spur your team to take the necessary action unless you, yourself are mentally prepared to do so?
It is possible to train yourself to gain control of your reactions to change and develop resilience. You can start by taking a moment to take stock of the situation, calming down, and then thinking about what can be done to turn things around. Only then will you be able to provide the appropriate response to the situation.
Cutting yourself a little slack is another way to becoming more resilient, as change is a breeding ground for self-judgment. But while it is important to master yourself before you can lead others, know that even at this stage, you don’t have to go at it alone. Reaching out to others on your team helps you develop your resilience as it is also a form of moral support.
An Innovative Mindset
Our LFP also focuses on the need to adopt an innovative and experimentation mindset towards tackling tasks and solving problems creatively.
Research by McKinsey & Company reveals that while over 70% of senior executives have said that innovation was one of the top three drivers of their companies’ growth, about 65% of them have expressed a lack of confidence in this area. These leaders seemed to doubt their ability to foster innovation, and to find it frustrating to create an innovative corporate culture.
Committing to creating this culture can make it possible, however, to give innovation the place it needs to have at your organisation. Formalise that commitment in writing by including innovation in your management agenda, so that it can be tracked as a key performance indicator.
You can also make the most of the innovative talent that you already have in-house, as many organisations tend to leave this invaluable resource untapped. You can do this by setting systems in place that will empower these innovators to work their magic.
In relation to this, cultivate trust among your teams, which will reassure anyone with an innovative idea that these ideas are important, and encourage the sharing of those ideas. This trust can be far more powerful than any monetary incentive for promoting innovation.
Managing through Influence
Leaders must likewise be able to manage stakeholders through effective influencing techniques.
In writing for Forbes, Navy SEAL combat veteran, Brent Gleeson highlights the ability to influence others to believe in your mission and your goals as one of the most important aspects of effective leadership. If you can get your team to have that same strong belief you have in your collective ability to succeed, your organisation is well on its way towards success.
Note that influence doesn’t entail getting creative with the truth or putting an unrealistic positive spin on things, but convincing your team that your strategy is sound. This can be done by clearly defining the results you need to achieve, and then outlining your plan for achieving them.
Taking off from relationship building, you also need to get to know the stakeholders you need to influence, so as to be able to figure out the best ways for to get them to buy into your strategy. As you get to know them better, you can also get their feedback on the plan which will enable you to improve it.
But demonstrating your credibility is perhaps the most important factor in influencing your team—showing them why they should believe in you and your plan is crucial to convincing them to follow it, and you.
Four fundamentals may not seem like a whole lot, and yet any leader worth his salt would tell you how challenging it can be to master even one. “If you want to be a leader, the good news is that you can do it,” says John C. Maxwell. “Everyone has the potential, but it isn’t accomplished overnight. It requires perseverance.”
Ask us about our Leadership Fundamentals Programme and get started on becoming a better leader, now.