There are many recipes being offered today to advise managers and leaders at all levels on becoming more authentic. The argument being that by being more authentic you are more credible and persuasive as a leader for those who follow and get more done more easily. In our approach we have a straight forward way of helping our customers develop as authentic leaders. We have three simple tenets:
• Be true to yourself
• Be true to your responsibilities
• Be true to others
In this article we will focus on “be true to your responsibilities.” What we mean by this is taking time to reflect on what the organisation expects from you. How do you contribute to organisational success?
What is your organisational impact? Yes you have your own objectives in your own area of responsibility which makes an expected contribution. Two valuable checks in making sure your objectives are producing the desired impact are SMART and Line of Sight. Most managers are very familiar with the concept of SMART (Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, Time bound) goals or objectives. Perhaps the challenge is in being disciplined about how we use the technique and make a habit of using it. Line of sight can be forgotten when we are under pressure or have a lot to do. How does my department or unit’s objectives contribute to organisational goals and how do I explain to my people how their objectives contribute to the organisational goals? We should be making time to be clear about this and orient our people.
What is your leadership brand? How do you behave and what messages do you broadcast by the way you behave? Are you a good role model for the type of leadership and behaviour that the organisation needs? Our colleague, Mark Thomas, frequently challenges aspiring and established leaders to consider and map their personal leadership brand. The insights help increase awareness and also alignment with the behaviours needed to maintain the organisations success.
In increasingly fast paced and pressurised organisational working environments an important factor is collaboration. Working effectively with others in our immediate teams and across the organisation. Making sure we don’t limit success and progress through silo thinking. James W. Tamm and Ronald J. Luyet have given a valuable perspective on effectively working with others in their book Radical Collaboration*. Being effective has a lot to do with our own mind set and whether we are in the red zone, blaming and seeing problems especially in others, or the green zone, taking responsibility for ourselves and being open. Our attitude has a big impact on how successful we are in building effective relationships with others. These skills are not only critical for the health of organisations but also for the health of economies and the global economy.
A second important area in working with others is effective team working. Are we working to make the teams we lead and participate in more effective both in terms of the results they produce and the experience they give to the team members? Does the team I lead have any of the Five Dysfunctions of a team as identified by Patrick Lencioni?** Is there an absence or trust or have we a fear of conflict? It is important that we “mine for conflict”, dig it out and get it on the table so we can resolve it and strengthen the way our team works.
Apart from working managers and team leaders through these models and how they can use them we often also bring in some live team working data for them to work with. A very useful model for analysing team effectiveness was developed by Richard Beckhard - Goals, Roles, Processes and Procedures, and Interpersonal Relationships. *** We have developed an on line tool for confidentially gathering the opinions of the team members on how effectively they see the team working. This we compile into a report which helps the team leader gain a deeper understanding of what is working well and what may need attention. It is a good starting point to begin a team building process.
A final key element in being true to my responsibilities, am I keeping my knowledge and skill set up to date? How do I keep up to date in developments in my professional area and in my business? Have I taken time out to reflect on both what I need to learn and also what I may need to unlearn. The latter is very challenging as it asks us to change our habits. The speed and diversity of change in our markets and businesses makes it very difficult for one person to have a good overview. It needs a combined team effort and astute use of a variety of media. We need to mobilise our followers to help us ensure that we are getting the right things done.
Get in touch with Gerry Buckley at firstname.lastname@example.org to explore how we can help you.
* Radical Collaboration – Five Essential Skills to Overcome Defensiveness and Build Successful Relationships by James W. Tamm and Ronald J. Luyet. Published by Collins.
** The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni. Published by Jossey-Bass.
***Based on the work of Richard Beckhard, a leading organizational development theorist based at MIT in Boston. He outlined the basic GRPI model in his 1972 article in “Optimizing Team Building Effort” published in the journal of Contemporary Business. Volume 1 (3) PP.23-32.