Leadership is responsibility, purpose, and influence. Critical leadership values are courage, humility, integrity, and caring, with the most important skills being decision-making, self-discipline, and communication. A good leader is a learner, who aspires to be effective with people, efficient with their time and resources, and regularly reviews and renews their situation, their self, and their strategy.
This page includes, leadership growth...
Four Categories of Leadership (as I mention in my book Opportunity Truth)
There are four categories of leadership, depending on the type of responsibility. Traditional leadership is formal and informal, but I also offer the idea of nontraditional leadership.
Formal leadership is where a person is given authority over other people, and they are responsible for getting results for those who gave them authority. Formal leadership usually has an official contract that includes their responsibilities.
Informal leadership is where people look to another person for information or guidance, even though they don't have authority over them. Informal leaders have informal responsibility to help others with knowledge, skills, and/or encouragement. Informal leadership is an unofficial public contract where people have expectations of the informal leader to help them get results (informal responsibility). This is often seen in family members, friends, mentors, activists, and influencers, where people seek their advice or knowledge to help them create a better life.
Parental leadership is when a person has given themself authority over, and responsibility for, a child they either brought into the world or adopted. This is often the most challenging leadership position because people put themselves in this position before they are ready for it, know it is never too late to improve. Parents mostly set their kid's self-leadership foundation.
Self-leadership is our most basic leadership, and our most important. No one has more responsibility and influence for our self than we do. Nothing is more important to communities and societies than mature, responsible, and purposeful adults. Even if you are in a tough environment that has a lot of influence over you, you have choices, and a responsibility to your future self and those who love you.
Leadership growth is to gain knowledge that helps meet responsibilities and influences others to become more effective and efficient leaders.
The Opportunity System Leadership Growth (based on my book Opportunity Truth)
Foundation of strength: This is setting a healthy environment with necessary structure, a trusting culture, and a good example.
Necessary structure is basically making it clear who is responsible for what. This helps minimize the chance of an important task not getting done, and wasted effort of two people doing the same work. It also clarifies the expectations around the individual responsibilities, which empowers individuals. This should also include best practices, or standard operating procedures (SOPs) to fulfill those responsibilities.
Structure inherently has a dichotomy of control and freedom. People want certainty about expectations in their role, but they don't want to be micromanaged. The more clarity provided about best practices and SOPs during onboarding, the less frustrated people usually feel. As opposed to providing very little clarity during onboarding and constantly correctings them month to month.
A trusting culture includes an inspiring and shared vision of what the organization wants to become, many years in the future. Does it want to be the best at something? Does it want to be the first place people think of for something? Does it want to eliminate a big problem, or at least decrease it by a certain amount? Does it want to provide specific value or benefits to specific customers while providing good jobs for a marginalized demographic? Does it want to provide specific value or benefits to specific customers while maintaining a zero carbon footprint?
A trusting culture also includes shared values that guide the daily duties and decisions of its people. Patrick Lencioni's experience has proven that it is good to choose just a few pay to play values, a few core values, and a few aspirational values. He goes into detail on how to do this in his book The Advantage. A culture is always strengthened by a good example of leadership, who live the vision and values.
Arguably the most important value is trust, which depends on truth, and is strengthened through one of our most important skills, communication. Other key skills are a positive growth mindset, emotion management, self-discipline, decision-making, and habit management. There are entire books written on each of these skills. Most leaders want their people to be above average in these skills, but that usually doesn't happen without deliberate effort to learn and practice.
Art of purpose: This includes serving the people above you with expected results, and serving the people below you with a healthy environment, strategy, and encouragement. In a for profit business the core of strategy is the segment (customer or market), the logical position, and the emotional brand.
Science of momentum: The science of momentum includes encouraging your people with appreciation, inspiration, and freedom.
Appreciation is basically expressing gratitude for who they are, what they have done, and doing so sincerely, with empathy. This increases confidence.
Inspiration is basically expressing honest hope for future possibilities based on their goals, professional growth, and leadership growth. This includes being treated fairly, with equality of opportunity, and directly rewarded for their effort. This increases a sense of commitment.
Freedom is basically giving them some level of autonomy or personal control over their role, giving them a voice in the organization, and the ability to exercise some creativity. Studies show when people have control over their responsibilities, including space to be creative. This increases a feeling of ownership of their responsibilities.
The formal leadership growth plan is designed based on the understanding they have already built a strong personal and professional foundation, so the plan does not include the identity, affirmations, or routines.
You can create your one-page plan by recording your vision, values, goals and lead measures (or habits) to meet the goals. Then record your direct reports and their personality, strengths, appreciation language, and primary responsibility. Consider reviewing your vision, values, goals and lead measures daily, preferably in the morning following to help start your day strong. Review your direct reports traits before engaging with them to better understand them, so you can better connect with them, have better conversations, and ultimately help them develop.
The book The Leadership Challenge is based on a large study of leaders and claims the more they research leadership the more they are convinced that it is within the grasp of everyone. It provides the five best practices of leaders including inspire a shared vision, enable others to act, and encourage the heart. Of course, like the other books, it explains pracitcial ways to implement the five practices.
The book Multipliers is based on a large study of what separates leaders who seem to multiply the intelligence of their people, and leaders who seem to decrease the intelligence of their people. It explains how good leaders can multiply the intelligence of others when they create intensity of thought, challenge people by seeding opportunity and debating decisions, and how to instill ownership and accountability.
The book Developing the Leader Within You 2.0 is based on decades of Leadership experience. It explains how the best leaders focus on learning how to improve themselves, their leadership, and training others to lead. It also explains how leadership is influence, the key to leadership is managing priorities, the foundation of leadership is character, the ultimate test of leadership is creating positive change, the quickest way to gain leadership is by problem-solving, the heart of leadership is serving people, and the price of leadership is self-discipline.
The book EntreLeadership is based on decades of experience creating a successful million dollar business, losing it all, then starting over and createing an even more successful multi million dollar business that is sustainable. It provides leaders with some best practices on leadership, culture, marketing, sales, and finances.
The book Turn This Ship Around is about how a Navy leader increased the performance levels of his crew by increasing clarity, competence, and control over their expected duties. It is a case study for the leader-leader framework, as it proves that leadership can be taught.
The book The Motive is a quick read that explains why leaders are drawn to leadership by either responsibility, or reward. It also highlights some key leadership responsibilities. The Advantage is based on decades of leadership and consulting organizations. It explains why organizational health is a greater advantage than organizational intelligence. It also provides a systematic approach to organizational health including, create a cohesive leadership team with trust that engages in healthy conflict that leads to commitment and accountability, with a focus on results.
The book Good to Great is based on a large study of public businesses that did exceptionally well, and explains how a great leader has personal humility and professional will. It also provides many other helpful tactics like building an economic engine, put your best people on your biggest opportunities not your biggest problems. It also explains the flywheel theory that requires a predictable pattern of buildup and breakthrough, that avoids the doom loop.
The book Start with Why gives insights on how to better communicate a vision to influence people, with our belief behind the vision. The book Leaders Eat Last gives biological science on why people are compelled to follow other people who display caring and courage. The book The Infinite Game gives key principles for leaders to avoid the dangers of focusing on short-term gains, including a just cause, trusting teams, and courage.
The book Dare to Lead is a research based, how to guide, for leaders to develop a courageous culture through vulnerability, empathy, and curiosity. It also explains how to live our values, improve trust, and learn how to rise after a fall or failure.
The book First Break All The Rules is based on surveys of more than a million employees and eighty thousand managers, and it found that there are twelve questions that measure the strength of a workplace, and can help attract and retain talent. While the book focuses on "managers" the principles apply to leaders
Leadership growth is supported by professional growth, and supports business growth.
Entreleadership, John Maxwell, Craig Groeschel, Lead to Win, Forged by Trust, Coaching for Leaders, Dose of Leadership, Growth Think Tank, and School of Greatness.
Entreleadership, Center for Creative Leadership, The Aspen Institute, Leadership Nudges, Front Line Leadership
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