5 Truths About Leadership

July 23, 2014 / Leadership / 0 Comments /

leadership transitionAs an Organizational Development (OD) and Leadership practitioner, I often find myself having conversations about leadership – what it is and what it isn’t – and how to be a good leader.  It’s time for some truths.

So what are some hard truths about leadership?

  1. It ain’t easy – Anyone who has ever been in a leadership role knows it’s a complex – and often an exhausting and lonely position. Be careful how fast you rush to climb the leadership ladder. Leadership requires being focused on more than one thing at a time: strategy, process, culture – people. Seeing how all these things are connected takes vision and the ability to see the bigger picture. Successful leadership requires heightened self awareness, expert communication, and accountability. These aren’t skills we all inherently have – or have a desire to learn. It doesn’t get any easier at the top – and the learning doesn’t just stop.
  2. Leadership isn’t management If you’re in a leadership position, you may likely share many of the same responsibilities as a manager – truth is the roles are not the same. Leadership requires creating a vision of the future and engaging people in moving toward it. Leadership connects the big ideas to what matters to the people around them: employees, customers, and stakeholders. Leadership sets direction, builds agreement, influences and motivates others, and inspires commitment. Management develops specific goals and project plans, allocates resources, and solves obstacles to execute on the vision and strategy set forth by leadership. Management executes plans to make leaderships future direction a reality. Leadership and management are both essential to building great organizations.
  3. You can’t do it all Great leaders understand their organizational culture – they’ve most likely helped and are continuing to help shape the culture and the future direction. Leaders need to delegate and they need to empower. Truth is many leaders are great visionaries and see big picture very well, but if they don’t hire the right people to connect the dots – and empower them to do so – then the vision often doesn’t become a reality.  It’s often difficult for some leaders to back off from trying to have a hand in everything – if you want the business to be successful you need to let the people you hired perform their jobs. Let the managers manage, let the subject matter experts deliver. Make yourself available but back off.
  4. Know how to communicate Just because you may be in a leadership role doesn’t always mean you are an expert communicator. It’s imperative for success that leaders know how to communicate. Truth – this is not a skill obtained by title alone. Some leaders have the gift for communication, some can learn, some may just never master the art. Part of being a good communicator is also being open to feedback from those you lead. We all have developmental areas regardless of position in the organization. Communication and remaining open to feedback is how you will learn where you can improve. Training exists everywhere, but before you jump on the bandwagon of the current theory/trend, request some direct feedback and then look into what training may help best address developmental areas.
  5. You are what you do – Leaders must embody the values they want employees to adopt. It’s necessary that leadership serves as role models. Mean what you say and do what you mean. Truth -they are watching!  To be a role model you must be accountable, approachable, compassionate, transparent, and open to feedback. Exemplify the best and lead by example.

No great leader ever got anything done without inspiring and empowering others. Leadership can’t happen in a vacuum. The best leaders don’t shy away from facing hard truths – and they never stop learning. Interested in more?  Feel free to contact me, and I’m happy to share my checklist: How to Become a Great Leader.

So, what are some leadership truths you’ve experienced? (Tweet them here!)

About Scott Span, MSOD: is Lead Consultant of Tolero Solutions - an Organizational Improvement & Leadership firm.  He helps clients in facilitating sustainable growth by connecting and maximizing  people –> performance –> profit™, creating high performance organizations that are more responsive, productive and profitable.

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*All Rights Reserved. Reproduction, publication, and all other use of  any and all of this content is prohibited without authorized consent of the author.

 


7 Requirements for Successful Change Leadership

Leading change isn’t easy!

“Begin with the end in mind.” – Stephen CoveyChange Leadership

Leading change requires the right skills, attitude, and time commitment to be a change champion. Change leadership requires certain behaviors and actions. When I’m asked to help organizations lead change, I often begin with asking a set of questions. In order to lead change successfully, you must be able to answer:

  • What matters to us?
  • Where are we going?
  • Who’s driving?
  • What are we supposed to do?
  • Why should I bother?

Many things can be the catalyst for change – technology, mergers and acquisitions, policy and mandate, various internal and external environmental factors. Regardless of what triggers the change – good change leadership is required for success. So if you’re involved in leading a change effort you have a responsibility. You must prepare yourself to lead change, prepare your staff for the change and sustain your team’s support of the change.I t’s not going to happen over night.

Here are 7 requirements for successful change leadership:

  1. Adopt a continuous improvement attitude
  2. Open communication and transparency
  3. Be accountable and take ownership
  4. Be trusting and trustworthy
  5. Encourage innovation
  6. Be a team player
  7. Walk the talk

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”

-Charles Darwin

As part of the change leadership team, you must lead by example, by also embracing the change.  Don’t revert to the old way of doing things. Maintain accountability for executing on the new strategy and vision and using new policies and procedures, enforce the new vision and strategy amongst your employees and outline consequences for not working toward acceptance and commitment. Ask questions, stay engaged, and communicate, communicate, communicate!

About Scott Span, MSOD: is Lead Consultant of Tolero Solutions - an Organizational Improvement & Strategy firm.  He helps clients facilitate sustainable growth by connecting and maximizing  people –> performance –> profit™, creating high performance organizations that are more responsive, productive and profitable.

Email | Website | LinkedIn | Twitter | Blog | Facebook

______________________________________________________________

*All Rights Reserved. Reproduction, publication, and all other use of  any and all of this content is prohibited without authorized consent of Tolero Solutions and the author.


3 Tips to Create a Kick Ass Culture

June 27, 2014 / Culture, Leadership / 0 Comments /

Kick ass cultureWe’ve all heard how important organizational culture is to success…most have heard the names of some businesses often used as examples of high performance cultures -  Zappos, Google, Southwest .

Information on their cultures, values, and business practices can be found in abundance. But the rest of us, regardless of size, industry, and brand recognition, also need to pay attention to culture. I was recently asked by a client “how do we create a kick ass culture…?”  The question generated some interesting conversation. Creating a kick ass culture is one (yes I said one – I don’t believe that culture alone is the key to success but it’s certainly a key ingredient) thing not to be overlooked for long term growth and success. So, how can you create a kick ass culture?

Here are 3 tips to help your business SUCCEED:

  • Communication - To achieve a kick ass culture and sustainable business, frequent, transparent, and authentic communication amongst leadership, employees, stakeholders, and customers is a necessity. Often leadership tends to under communicate, not share details regarding strategy and initiatives. To keep employees engaged in your products and services and committed to the organizations strategy, mission, and vision, they need to know what is going on and why, the good and the bad, (within reason). If you want to create a kick ass culture you need to know what that looks like and what that means to people.  Frequent and transparent communication in all directions is a great place to start to find out.
  • Leadership - Leadership is a driving force behind creating and maintaining a kick ass culture and building a thriving business. Many of those businesses we hear about that have great cultures, are because the leaders that helped to create them evangelize the culture, and practice what they preach. Leaders serve as role models through their actions and behaviors. High performing organizations have committed leaders who can rally people around a deeper sense of purpose. In most cases these leaders are also expert communicators. Through their management, leaders of organizations with a kick ass culture have the ability to translate ideals into action. Leaders who help achieve a high performance culture are ethical, approachable, relatable, and involved. These leaders not only know their organization; they know the type of people in their organization and how those people’s contributions help to achieve the strategic goals.
  • People – To achieve a kick ass culture you must recruit, engage, and retain the right people. Hire for skills AND culture fit. Many things may bring employees through the front door, but bad work environments drive them out. Build a highly engaged and committed workforce. Let employees know they and their ideas are valued and provide a culture where their voices can be heard. Creating this type of environment increases employee motivation and retention and reduces employee turnover. This type of positive environment helps people reach higher levels of productivity. People are the company. High performance organizations recognize and embrace this fact. They acknowledge in all decision making that it is the people who execute the organization’s strategy. It is people who measure the organizations progress and steer its direction. It is the people that ultimately deliver products and services to customers and create the customer experience. It is the people and their capabilities, individually and collectively, who create a kick ass culture. Organizations can’t exist without people. People make the difference in every business – and happy people make the biggest difference.

So focus on these 3 things to help get started at creating a kick ass culture for your business. To see a full list of tips to creating a kick ass culture at your organization  click here to request a checklist on creating a high performing culture.

About Scott Span, MSOD: is CEO & Lead Consultant of Tolero Solutions - an Organizational Improvement & Strategy firm.  He helps clients in facilitating sustainable growth by connecting and maximizing  people –> performance –> profit™, creating organizations that are more responsive, productive and profitable.

Email | Website | LinkedIn | Twitter | Blog | Facebook

______________________________________________________________

*All Rights Reserved. Reproduction, publication, and all other use of  any and all of this content is prohibited without authorized consent of Tolero Solutions and the author.

 


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