As events in our industry continue evolving, the link between strong leadership and business performance is crystal clear. There has never been a time when abilities must be fresh, relevant and cascade across every function, starting at the top.
The weekend is a good time to think about acts of leadership that worry you, make you uncomfortable, require real courage. Acts you’ve been avoiding. Acts you fear might make you look weak. Or too demanding.
What acts of leadership are you avoiding?
Get real, enlist help from a friend, make a list. Then pick two to carry out next week. Or one to practice in two different situations. Think of each act as a feature of a broader leadership quality to master. (Examples are in italics below from the book, The Intangibles of Leadership: The 10 Qualities of Superior Executive Performance by Richard A. Davis.)
Some ideas to get you started; your actual list is your own:
- I will confront (x) with critical, essential feedback that may trigger a hostile reaction. (Fortitude, Wisdom)
- I will instill urgency and assign priority to this project by shaving two weeks off the due date. (Will, Fortitude)
- I will step out of character and pound my fist on the table to demand a solution to a long unresolved problem. (Will, Presence, Executive Maturity)
- I will apologize for what I did to (x) and promise not to repeat it. (Integrity, Fallibility, Self-Efficacy)
- I will be alert to the positive impacts of my strengths so that I can practice them more often. (Self-Insight, Wisdom)
- I will say Yes when others are saying No. (Fortitude, Wisdom)
- I will demand More, Bigger, Now from myself and my executive team on this initiative. (Fortitude, Will, Self-Insight)
- I will admit my mistake and immediately correct it. (Executive Maturity, Integrity)
- I will love/respect/get to know (x) though I find him/her hard to love/respect/get to know. (Executive Maturity, Social Judgment)
- I will call a strong supporter and make the conversation about him/her this time instead of about me. I will listen deeply and offer help. (Social Judgment, Integrity, Executive Maturity)
- I will partner with someone of lower rank to tackle a problem that’s beneath me. (Self-Efficacy, Social Judgment)
- I will take (the receptionist, a production worker, a clerk) to lunch and ask what can I can do to make their jobs more rewarding. I will commit to doing it. (Social Judgment, Fallibility)
Boldly exercise two acts of leadership from your list next week, and circle back to review on Friday. How did they go? What was accomplished? How did you feel? Most of all, what did you learn? Begin each week with the same exercise. Repeat what needs repeating in different forms and situations until a leadership intangible is mastered.
Make planning and carrying out two new conscious acts of leadership a weekly habit. Because higher standards of performance for your organization begins with you.