Coaching leaders of organizations today is starting to look different. The smell of possibility and success is once again permeating the air. . Leaders are seeing signs that there is a future and they are anxious to drive there as fast as possible. Great and how welcome it is.
There’s no question that surviving the economic tsunami of the past several years often meant creating efficiencies in every aspect of a business. Fewer employees, more efficient processes, changing the product to maintain market share and did I say having fewer people doing more jobs? Very few people were not impacted in significant ways.
Few companies around today have the intention of returning to the past, in terms of the way they operate the business. A valuable byproduct of the economic downturn was finding more efficient ways to produce the “key” product or service. Holding onto these efficiencies going forward is just smart business. This imposes a need for greater efficiency in how people execute their jobs … beginning with the leaders of the company at all levels.
What we’ve seen as businesses climb out of the recession however, is what appears to be a magnetic pull to the leadership methods of the past and it is not necessarily a good pull. What would be the benefit to adapting the leadership approach to the current environment? Read on and you’ll see how one client approached this.
One company president recently did something that had a huge impact within the organization and on him. He polled a good size sampling of company associates: in leadership positions. The three questions and summation of answers were
Q: What can I do to make you more successful?
A: Trust me. Let me run with the ball … I won’t fail myself, you or the company
Q: What do you need from me that will enhance your performance?
A: Encouragement, latitude, confidence in me and resources
Q: How would you like to be more involved in the company that, you believe will increase our success?
A: I want you to use me effectively in exploring aspects of a situation about which I have the
expertise. Allow us, as your team, to provide you with the facts that collectively will enable
you to make an informed decision
In seeing the results the president breathed a sigh of relief. He always believed it was his – and only his – job to make all the final decisions necessary to make the company as successful as possible … kind of ‘the buck ends here’ mentality. Now, as a result of simply asking, he quickly realized his team was challenging him to allow them to use their knowledge and expertise to help him make better and more informed decisions.
Going forward, his job is to bring together the “right” people – meaning the group having the detailed knowledge that will lead the organization make the best decision. “Leaders Don’t Do It Alone” could well be a fitting bumper sticker. This company president realized that listening and giving his group what they said they wanted actually made his job easier. This definitely fits today’s more efficient business environment. Another significant benefit is that the reports, in this case other leaders, feel a sense of personal value and contribution which in turn results in creating enthusiasm, energy & creativity – ensuring further success.
Leading business author, Daniel Pink, says that people only want three things from their leaders: to be able to engage in meaningful work, to be seen as making a valuable contribution, and, some autonomy. It seems to be even more fitting now as leaders are able to reclaim the driver’s seat of their organizations within the new realities of today
As I see it, this is a terrific challenge with outstanding rewards. Go on … try it. You might just really like it.
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