Ten Top Tips for Leaders
By Sarah Cornally
Here are the ten most common areas discussed and developed during
leadership coaching and mentoring sessions with senior executives.
1. Know yourself
Every experience contains insights for you about yourself and your
leadership. Who are you? What are your gifts and talents? What makes you
tick? What are you needs, what are your values, what are your
insecurities? How do people press your buttons? What do you need to manage
that?When you engage with people what do they experience? What sort of
leader do you want to be?
2. Know the purpose of your leadership
Are you pursuing a passion to achieve something that meets a need,
something that matters deeply to you and the others on your team? Is it
virtuous? Will it serve many positively?
If you are doing it for the prestige, the power, the significance it
brings you, think of the saying "If you are not enough without it,
you wont be enough with it".
3. Know your domain holistically
Have you stayed curious and asked lots of questions without
pre-judgement? Have you actively been searching for reality, or a version
that pleases you? Have you made it genuinely safe for people to tell you
what they really think and feel? Everyone's perception is true and valid
for them. Have you got a 360° degree perspective on the situation? Have
you gone beyond the boundaries in seeking understanding of all the forces
4. Create clarity & focus
Have you distilled what you have discovered into a relatively simple
concept that a 5 year old could understand? Have you developed models and
metaphors to enable people to understand the concept without the
complexity? Are they emotionally enrolled? Are you certain they understand
from their point of view? Are you reframing any misconceptions they
express when they express them? Do you communicate it over and over and
over to keep it clear and top of mind but in different ways so they stay
5. Ensure capability
When you look at others what do you see? Do you see them clearly or
through your filters? Have you faced the truth about the talents and
abilities of the people you require? Have you faced the truth about the
resources you require? If you don't have them, have you developed a
strategy to get them or modified your expectations to fit what you have?
You can use this for growth and development of people's capability which
engenders commitment, loyalty and synergy. When mistakes are made do you
use them as discovery learning?
6. Be fully present
Are you 100% present with people when they are with you? Do you listen
to what they say and what they mean? Do you let them know when you are
preoccupied so they understand your responses.
7. Ensure alignment
Do you notice the attitudes, beliefs and behaviours in the people you
lead? They are the evidence of people's subconscious drivers. Do you know
what the needs are of the people you are leading? Do you meet those needs
so they are free to give their best.
Are you an embodiment of the values in everything that you do and the
things you say? Do people embody the values in the things they say and
they way they do them? Do you encourage dialogue which explores why do
people think & feel what they think & feel about xyz.
Do you embrace conflict as a healthy source of energy? Do you focus on
your objectives and develop it into creativity and innovation?
8. Establish and maintain the standards
Finding a balance between freedom and responsibility is important. Do
people know what the standards are? Do you uphold them? Are you fair and
consistent in the way you deal with these issues? Are you respected for
your standards? It is important that the standards make sense and are
consistent with what you are trying to achieve.
Having something to live up to builds self esteem. We respond well to
challenge as long as it stretches us and we have a sense it is potentially
within our reach. It's the leader's role to maintain the creative tension
that leads to results.
9. Build bridges
Have you stopped and thought about what the different talents and
contributions are between you and the people you are leading? Do you
respect and honour that difference. Mostly you are in a leadership
position because you have more advanced expertise, more detailed
understanding, greater experience or a bigger perspective than the people
you are leading. Remember that, your role is to build bridges of
understanding so they can succeed in areas you already know and they can
give you the insights they have that you need.
10. Face reality & deal with what you find
Do you realise that whatever results you are getting is evidence of
your leadership? It's natural to defend yourself and blame others when
something doesn't work out. Leaders take full responsibility for the
results. Honour your intentions. Ask yourself why that happened? What did
you do that contributed to the issues? What could you do differently next
time to get a better outcome?
Generally people don't set out to cause problems, they do the best they
know how in most situations. Leadership is about enabling people to
deliver their best and in the process you discover your best.
About the author: Sarah Cornally trained as an
Occupational Therapist. With 17 years experience she specialised in
Occupational Rehabilitation & Injury Prevention. For 20 years she has
consulted to government, industry & commerce on how to achieve
outcomes through people. Her clients include the Who's Who of business.
She has presented on many leadership programs including St James Ethics
Centre's Sir Vincent Fairfax leadership awards program. Her business,
Leading People, advises and coaches leaders on how to shape people's
performance to turn their visions into reality. She is National President
of the National Speakers Association of Australia (2000-2002). Visit http://www.sarahcornally.com
for more information.
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