• Are We Facing a Crisis in Leadership?

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    A survey by the World Economic Forum of 1,767 world leaders and experts in 2015 found that 86% of the respondents agreed that the world faced a “leadership crisis” and that a lack of leadership was the third most pressing global issue  behind deepening income inequality and persistent jobless growth, and ahead of such challenges as the weakening of democracy, rising pollution, and intensifying nationalism.

    Are we really facing a leadership crisis though?  There are plenty of people in the world who are leading others – in business and in other organisations. Training and leadership development has been a huge growth industry and in 2014 companies worldwide spent USD 45 Billion on developing leaders.

    So what is at the heart of this sense of a leadership crisis and what do we need to do to correct it?

    I believe that the way that we think of leaders needs to change.  Old stereotypes of leadership: positions of authority, asserting power over others, usually male – don’t fit so well in a world where the skills required to lead well are more suited to collaboration, connecting, communicating, planning for the long term, keeping the common interest in mind and empowering others.

    One area in which to examine the impact of the so-called crisis in leadership is in the global workforce. A January 2016 Gallup report stated that in a Worldwide study, only 13% of employees working for an organisation are engaged.  In the UK and the USA the figure is higher at around one third but that is still two thirds of employees who are disengaged at work.   Employees are disengaged at work for many reasons but one of the key factors is that people are not being led effectively.

    So whilst billions of dollars are being spent annually on leadership training across the world this is not having the desired effect in the workplace or community.  It would seem that training in the class room is not focused on embedding the right skills required in reality.  Leadership training is focused on developing leadership skills and styles but misses the focus on what leaders are called to pursue, why, and who benefits. Leaders are not leading with passion, purpose and persuasion – three keys to leadership.

    If you think about who you consider as great global leaders now and in the past, they all lead with passion.   You cannot lead effectively unless you love what you do and are charged up about the key aspects of your role.  If you are leading with passion you are motivated to succeed and this enthusiasm and drive for success rubs off on others.

    Passion alone though this not enough.  Creating a clear vision and direction in the form of a plan, are essential components of being a good leader. Creating a sense of purpose for employees and understanding why you are doing this and who will benefit, will help to engage their hearts and encourage them to go above and beyond at work. Work becomes less about meeting basic needs (income) and more about higher needs, such as: feeling fulfilled, collaborating, making connections and making a difference to others.

    By feeling a greater sense of purpose and personal growth in our work we become more engaged, perform better and earn higher incomes. In return, as we earn more this then allows us to worry less about our basic needs as these are being met and gives us more energy to focus even more on personal growth and meaningful contributions.

    If passion and purpose inspire and engage, it is the ability of good leaders to persuade that encourages people to take action.   Being a good leader is less about having great leadership skills and more about being able to persuade others to take action towards achieving a common purpose or aim. To effectively persuade others to take the right actions you need to engage and find out what motivates them as individuals or as a group. As a good leader you can then set goals with individuals or a team, give them authority to take actions, measure how they are doing and celebrate their success.

    It is by encouraging people to take the right actions towards a common purpose that more leaders will be moulded across all different levels, global issues will be resolved and great companies will be created.

    Are you leading with passion, purpose and persuasion?  Could your staff be more engaged in your company?  Is it time to change the paradigm in your company about what defines good leadership?

    Become part of the solution to the crisis in leadership and lead from the heart.  To find out more about how to impact your ability to lead or that of your senior management team contact me to discuss your company leadership requirements.

  • Leadership Starts from Within

    School child with hand raised in the classroom in front of a blackboard with other children concept for teacher's pet, standing out from the crowdand, genius or excelling in education

    What makes a good leader?

    We have a certain stereotype of a leader: typically, this is someone who is in a positon of power, has authority, is charismatic enough to motivate others to do things, oh…. and is usually male.

    We often talk of leaders as though they were somehow different from us and that only a few will achieve this status.  Our mind set is that leaders exist in a hierarchical structure and are chosen or appointed to lead by others in the structure.

    I believe that these views on a real leader are holding us back – as individuals and in the work place.  This stereotype of a leader defines who we see as leaders around us and also whether we see ourselves as potential leaders or not.  In both cases the results are a lack of real leaders in an organisation and individuals operating as less than their personal potential.  Neither good for growing your business.

    So if this is our current distorted view of leadership, what in reality makes a good leader?  We all have our own ideas of what makes a good leader, however the key elements of what makes a good leader are they know the outcomes they want, can get things done and they can motivate others.

    The most effective leaders are those who, rather than leading from a position of power to assert authority over others, lead first by knowing themselves, have the ability to listen, consider the views of others and essentially lead authentically from the heart – arguably more female traits compared to those masculine traits of power and authority.

    To move to a world where we see and experience more effective leaders around us, we need to change our mind set about who we see as leaders, and really importantly shift how we see ourselves as leaders.

    To explain this in more detail there are essentially three levels of leadership:

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    When we think of leadership we tend to think of it as something that is bestowed upon someone, and our attention is focused on high profile leaders in the public, who lead groups of people from tens, to hundreds, thousands, even millions in the case of country leaders.

    But being a leader is something that has to start from within.  We cannot lead others effectively, not even on a private leadership level, (when we lead and motivate someone on a one to one basis), until have a strong level of personal leadership. Self awareness is at the heart of being a great leader.

    If you are a leader in a public position of power and authority, guiding and directing others – or even just one other, then you need to know yourself because when you lead others there is no place to hide, no room for doubt and no time for experimenting.

    Whilst public leadership involves envisioning, planning, executing and evaluating and private leadership involves appraising, building, training, coaching and delegating. Personal leadership on the other hand involves motivating oneself. It requires you having the right level of technical competence; the right attitude towards other people; the ability to connect with others, self-mastery and ultimately the choice to live a life led by purpose and personal values.

    Personal leadership is how you live your life consciously from within – choosing to be responsible (response-able) rather than reacting and responding automatically to external events and circumstances around you. True leaders can be found anywhere, in all walks of life – not just in positions of power.  It is that sense of alignment to self and purpose and the ability to be authentic with others, that demonstrates who will be a good leader.

    Nurturing effective leaders is critical for the future growth and success in your organisation.  It is time to change your mind set on what being a leader involves and ncourage all your staff to lead from within.  No matter what their role or level of responsibility support them to develop their personal leadership skills so that they can be the leaders of your company in the future.

    Do you lead your company from within? Have you encouraged your staff to develop and grow and be leaders at all levels?  If you would like to find out more about how to develop your staff to be effective leaders in your organisation, contact me for a chat about your needs and how to create the people foundations to successfully grow your company.

     

     

     

     

     

  • Are You Brave Enough to Develop your Leadership Skills?

    Facing the challengeAs a business leader you will have spent time learning some hard skills to be effective at managing your business. For instance: technical skills to deliver your product or service, managing the supply chain, basic accounting skills, budgeting, ensuring compliance in your industry, marketing and sales skills and many similar functions.

    What you may not have done whilst running and growing your business is spend time mastering soft skills that support your ability to communicate effectively, prioritise tasks and create aligned high performance teams. Unfortunately, the perception is often that “soft skills” are, well…soft and fluffy, however they are just as crucial to business success as the more recognized “hard skills”.

    Make no mistake learning and developing these so called soft skills is anything but soft. Learning these leadership skills is extremely challenging as it requires you to step out of your comfort zone and change your thinking, beliefs and behaviours to get the results that you want.

    So I always ask leaders before they embark upon a leadership skills programme with me:“How brave are you?”

    • Are you brave to take the right decisions as a leader, even if they are not the easiest?

    • Are you brave enough to let go of the levers of power to allow your staff to take on greater responsibility?

    • Are you brave enough to listen, consider and accept someone else’s opinion?

    • Are you brave enough to be responsible and put your hand up when things don’t go as planned?

    • Are you brave enough to be accountable and do whatever it takes to get the task done – no excuses?

    • Are you brave enough to have a meaningful conversation and ask your employees what they really think?

    If you want to be a great leader these are just some of the questions that you will need to ask yourself every day to lead you people and business to success.

    “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Churchill

    So what are the key soft leadership skills that you will need to master to become a great leader?

    1) Promote change – Want to, be willing to and believe that change is possible. Change starts from within changing your mind set and then changing the mind set within the organisation. Be the change you want to see.

    2) Inspire and motivate otherscreate a vision that is compelling so that employees have a purpose and know that what they do has an impact on customers and communities.

    3) Be authentic – tell the truth to your staff and always walk your talk.

    4) Manage yourselfself-awareness brings its own rewards and the more that you can manage yourself and the better you will be able to manage and lead others.

    5) Drive for results and be accountable – always do what you say that you are going to do and be accountable to your staff and customers. Focus on getting results not giving or accepting reasons. Make things happen!

    6) Be responsible – be willing to own up to mistakes if you make them. Take responsibility for your actions.

    7) Communicate powerfully and prolifically – whatever the method: 1:1 conversation, team meetings, email messages, phone or Skype calls, or anything else, just communicate regularly with your staff.

    8) Build relationships – we live in the era of connectivity and collaboration. The stronger your relationships with the members of your team, your customers and suppliers, others in your industry, and your community the better a leader you will be.

    9) Empower others – listen, support and encourage your team to step out of their comfort zone. Look for talented employees and give them the chance to learn and develop new skills. You are training them to become your company’s next generation of great leaders.

    10) Be focused and committed – learn to prioritise the important but not urgent tasks and commit to getting them done.

    11) Innovate – continually look for how you can improve and do things better, in your company, in your community, in the world.

    12) Look for solutions – don’t accept problems or moaners in your company– always focus on supporting your staff to find the solutions.

    So how brave are you? Are you willing to step up and work on developing your soft leadership skills and being the best leader you can be?

    Contact me via email or phone to have a free 30-minute consultation to find out how you can develop your leadership skills to help you accelerate the growth of your business.