Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Leadership: Meaningless Without Core

A leadership summit speaker admitted recently that he thought leadership was all about the tangibles: casting vision, developing emerging leaders, allocating resources, problem-solving, strategy development, etc. The admission he made was in the form of "If this is all you do, it's meaningless. None of this works without the leadership intangibles." Here's his list:

  • Self-sacrificing love: valuing the organization more than yourself. Level 5 leadership (Collins)? Crowning the organization (McFarland)? If not, you could be hindering your team. This is the heart of this leadership core. The speaker used the example of David, before he was King of Israel. It's recorded that his 'army' was a ragtag bunch of misfits: all of them were in trouble, in debt and bitter or discontent (1 Samuel 22). Their first bivouac: a cave. How would you like to build your organization with a group of people who wouldn't be hired by anyone else? King David did. He transformed them with the leadership of love. One test: if you have love for others in your organization, you will 'leave' their hearts in better shape than you found them.
  • Grit: the number one predictor of success. Or call it resilience, persistence. It's the ability to keep working at a goal until you've exhausted ALL possible options. Especially important for issues related to the last intangible--the 'Red Hot Why'. The foe of this characteristic is ease or contentment.
  • Self-awareness, particularly on what drives you or influences your decisions and awareness of your blind-spots (i.e. those behaviors or talents that you believe you're great at but everyone else knows you're not). There could be past experiences that drive your present behaviors and decisions, such as a belief that what has worked in the past will continue to do so. Or a motivation to impress someone in your life. The foes here are avoiding vulnerability and a lack of approach-ability.
  • Resourcefulness, learning agility, willing to be stretched. If you don't know something or how to do something, 'figure it out'. It's a characteristic important in those emerging leaders you want to develop. Give them a small, low-risk project that stretches them. Foe: thinking you know all the answers and don't need to learn more.
  • Sense of meaning, vital mission, 'Red Hot Why' of your efforts: the non-negotiable reason your organization exists.

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