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Flexible Authentic Leadership (with full handout)

Click the picture above to access the full handout and then right-click and select ‘save as’ to download your copy.

12 Easy ways to adapt your leadership style and still be authentic – full handout

I’m often telling the leaders I coach with that they need to flex or adapt their way of leading to suit the people and situations they find themselves in. But this is easier said then done, so I thought it’d be helpful to show you how.

One of the things that makes it tough for people to adapt their leadership style is the (legitimate) concern that if they do things in a different way, it will be inauthentic, or just not the ‘real them’.

The way to overcome this, and reap the benefits of being a more flexible leader but without having to become someone else entirely, is to lead from your Values. Values are the ideas, beliefs and ways of being that are intrinsically part of and important to you. Stay true to these and you stay true to yourself.

In the handout (see the picture, above), I’ve set out 3 of the top Values that people often express at work: Excellence, Harmony and Creativity, I’ve also put four of the most common Leadership Styles and when they are best to use.

Then, I’ve given examples of how you might use each of those Leadership Styles to express each of those Values

Now it’s over to you. Can you adapt your style to suit the situation and still be ‘real’?

Click the picture above to access the full handout and then right-click and select ‘save as’ to download your copy.

Great One-on-One Meetings for Busy Managers: booklet now available on Amazon

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10 Ways to be a Smarter Leader

How to be Smart in a World of Dumb Leaders

Thank you for reading this. There is so much to be done in the way that some people lead and run businesses and organisations, that it really needs folks to spread the word about how things could be instead.

So many times I’ll be sitting in a work-group observing, or be finding-out second-hand about something a leader has said or done that just makes me cringe: “Ouch! Why did they need to say or do it that way?” You’ve probably seen or heard about something similar yourself?

I just looked back through my notes over the last few months to find these ten examples of what I reckon are the most important differences between Smart and Dumb leaders – it wasn’t hard to find these!

Please get out there and spread the word. Let’s have much more smart leadership.

Dumb Leaders: Smart Leaders:
Pretend to know all the answers Are brave enough to ask the tough questions
Struggle to hide their weaknesses Use their vulnerabilities as a chance to learn from and develop others
Never stop to see themselves how others see them Take the time to walk in different worlds and explore multiple viewpoints
Inflict their mood-swings on everyone else Successfully manage their emotions, to help read and influence the moods of others
Always look for the heroic, Hail Mary long shots Make sure the daily grind is being done well, to make the most of the right opportunities
Will happily, noisily and frequently tell you what they think – and even what you think Apply the principal of one mouth, two ears – seek to listen and understand before being understood
Don’t care who you are nor what’s important to you See each team member as an individual deserving of their attention
Slap-down ideas and actions that don’t fit into their way of doing things Encourage creative thinking and prudent risk-taking
Keep their plans secret Know how to use their vision of the future to motivate and inspire people
Have low standards for their own behaviours and will justify doing as they want, when they want Role-model the kind of high ethical behaviour that instils pride and earns respect and trust.

Great One-on-One Meetings for Busy Managers: booklet now available on Amazon

If you found this article useful, you might want to grab a copy of my latest short eBooklet from Amazon. Please use the buttons or image below to see a preview or buy your copy:

Authentic Leadership

Why it’s important to people that you be the ‘real you’ as a leader; flaws, imperfections and all

I’ve been out and about just recently doing a variety of talks and group coaching sessions, which always gives me a good chance to ask people their views on leadership and teamwork. One of the things I keep asking about is what kind of leaders do people really want.

The answers are pretty diverse, but one theme that definitely recurs is about “authenticity”.

People tell me they want to be led by someone who is a real person and who doesn’t pretend to be perfect. They say that they don’t want to be led by someone who sneakily tries to cover up the gaps in the strategy or ignores the inadequacies in “the way that things are done around here”. They say that being perfect is just unbelievable anyway. That’s it’s hard to respect and connect with someone who won’t admit to their flaws. And trying to live-up to someone who is desperately trying to be perfect is simply exhausting. Instead, people say they want a leader who is honest about these things, even if it might reflect badly on themselves.

My own experience, both with my coaching clients and as a leader myself, has been that it’s quite powerful to be open and vulnerable about where you might be less than perfect.

As a young first-time leader, I remember thinking that it might cause people to lose confidence in me, and in themselves, if I admitted all the things I had no idea about. I still think that there’s a slight risk in being open like that; that some people might lose confidence. But I also know it’s possible to be honest about your flaws, and those of the organisation, in a way that commits to addressing the important ones and doesn’t excuse things. If you want to, you can use the flaws, cracks and imperfections to connect with people in a powerfully human way.

I’m writing this in the week after the death of the Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, so it seems timely to include a message from his song “Anthem”:

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

See also:

Kintsugi – (“golden joinery”) the Japanese philosophy/art-form, which treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kintsugi
 

Great One-on-One Meetings for Busy Managers: booklet now available on Amazon

If you found this article useful, you might want to grab a copy of my latest short eBooklet from Amazon. Please use the buttons or image below to see a preview or buy your copy: