As of this month- July 2014, log on to Amazon and you’ll find 116,796 titles under the heading “Leadership”. But if you’re in too big of a hurry to read a book,open up the American Heritage Dictionary. A careful examination of the various definitions of “leader” presents a fascinating and brief explanation of great leadership
Getting top talent into your workforce holds countless benefits for your company. From an increase in innovation to better overall workplace engagement, the best employees in your industry will bring out the best in everyone around them. So, wouldn’t it be nice if the best employees were working for you? Convincing top talent that working for your organization is in their best interest takes more than just a sleek benefits package. While a meaningful job that pays well is something every high-level candidate is looking for, the recipe for hiring and retaining the best talent in your field also includes the context where work happens. A workplace’s culture can greatly influence potential employees, and if you want to attract and hold on to the best of the best, it’s time to consider improving your workplace culture.
As an Organization Development consultant, I focus my practice on serving the leadership of organizations to effectively collaborate to affect change they would otherwise not be able to accomplish on their own. Having led my own consulting business for over nine years, I’m constantly working to develop my own leadership capacity so I’m better positioned to serve. As part of my graduate degree in organization development, I’ve worked hard over the last two years to build my own capacity as a collaborative leader.
Collaboration is an important factor for successful innovation and change. Indeed, collaboration is an imperative for most organizations today, including any organization undergoing change. Innovation requires collaboration between individuals, as well as systemic forms of collaboration that span silos, networks and surprising connections. And yet collaboration cannot be mandated. Collaboration just doesn’t work like that.
The time is ripe for a new kind of leadership that respects brains and beliefs of all humans. A lifetime of studying brains, valuing differences where I work globally, and leading from a center of belief in God, convinces me that brains and beliefs offer lynchpins for a balanced leadership that includes all.
One of the perks of my job is the interaction I am privileged to have with so many really great sales leaders around the world. In a recent tour of some of our great customers, I was struck by some common principles that are applied by those sales leaders who are at the top of their game.
Study after study has shown that listening is critical to leadership effectiveness. So, why are so few leaders good at it?
Too often, leaders seek to take command, direct conversations, talk too much, or worry about what they will say next in defense or rebuttal.
The ability and willingness to listen with empathy is often what sets a leader apart. Hearing words is not adequate; the leader truly needs to work at understanding the position and perspective of the others involved in the conversation.
In a recent interview, Paul Bennett, Chief Creative Officer at IDEO, advises leaders to listen more and ask the right question. Bennett shared that “for most of my twenties I assumed that the world was more interested in me than I was in it, so I spent most of my time talking, usually in a quite uninformed way, about whatever I thought, rushing to be clever, thinking about what I was going to say to someone rather than listening to what they were saying to me.”
Trust is the operating system of every organization and every relationship.
Think about that metaphor.
If the operating system on your computer is flaky, nothing seems to work right. Even if you have the best software programs, an unreliable operating system will cause you constant grief.
The same goes for the trust levels in organizations and relationships. Where trust is fragile, people are always looking over their shoulders. They’re reluctant to share information, collaborate, or accept accountability for results. In low-trust environments, everything seems to slow down. Nobody seems willing to do much of anything without a lot of hoop-jumping and multiple approvals.
When I was younger I wanted my own business, but I didn’t know how to begin. Should I buy a franchise, join a multi-level marketing company, or start my own business?
I went to seminars, presentations, and sales pitches on selling everything from milk additives to fuel additives, from soap to jewellery.
A lot of the presentations were very high-pressured. They were designed to get you to buy, sign, and commit. It was all about selling the dream of a life of leisure; you could live like a king and enjoy life without hard work. You could be different from the average Joe—no longer serving the man but living the dream.
Having started and run three successful businesses myself and spoken to hundreds of small business owners I can look back over 35 years and say, “Yep, that was definitely a bunch of crap!”