When it comes to discussions on leadership, there are certain constants or inevitable statements that you’re likely to come across. One of the most common of these stems from the ongoing debate over whether culture is more important than strategy in terms of the organization’s long-term success and viability.
Unfortunately, the popularity of debating the merits of one tactic over the other has recently given rise to a whole new set of either/or scenarios where leaders are encouraged to adopt one approach at the expense of the other. To date, some of the either/or scenarios I’ve seen debated include:
- vision vs. strategy
- knowledge vs. action
- people vs. results
- thinking vs. doing
- managing Millennials vs. every other workplace generation
Of course, it’s understandable why there’s a growing appeal for this approach – given the increasing complexity of leading organizations in today’s interconnected global economy, it’s only natural that we want to find quick answers to help us navigate these often choppy waters.
And yet, the problem with these zero-sum models is that they not only misdirect our focus from more urgent issues, but they also create more harm than good for the following reasons:
1. It overlooks the dualistic nature of these approaches
I’ve read recently a few articles where people have argued that the fast-pace of today’s market demands less focus on knowledge and thinking and more on action and doing. Of course, it’s easy to argue for a take-charge bravado when you’re not leading an organization still suffering from risk aversion thanks to the difficulties faced over the last few years.
That’s not to say that we need to do the inverse – of waiting until we have all our ducks in a row before we release our collective efforts out into the world. Rather, it means Click here to continue reading »”Leading Through The Power Of “And””
The following is a guest piece by Al Switzler.
At some point during the work week, most of us face a gap—the difference between what was expected and what was actually delivered. Gaps, in a nutshell, include violated expectations, broken commitments and bad behaviour. If you’ve felt let down, disappointed or offended, you have experienced a gap. How you deal with gaps makes a huge difference on the quality of relationships and results as a whole.
So how do most respond when faced with a gap? Let’s look at the three options for dealing with gaps and highlight the consequences of each.
1. You see a gap and don’t speak up
You give permission for what’s happening when you remain silent. By saying nothing, you vote for the status quo. Silence is seldom golden; it is almost always interpreted as approval. By not speaking up, you typically act out in other ways.
Your non-verbals, like frowning, rolling your eyes and gossiping, tend to leak out and eventually erode trust and respect. If you let thoughts and emotions build up until you explode, you may say and do things that further hurt the relationship. This leads to the second option. Click here to continue reading »”Accountability At Work – How To Describe The Gap”
As we welcome the arrival of a New Year, many of us are naturally filled with hope and excitement about the possibilities and opportunities for growth, change and success over the upcoming 12 months.
The beginning of a new year is also an excellent opportunity for reflection; of contemplating where we’ve been and where we could be. From that perspective, I’d like to share with you some of the leadership insights I’ve written about over the past 52 weeks, not just as a reminder of the lessons that were shared, but also so we can contemplate how we might apply them going forward.
Instead of a list of articles, though, I’d like to share a quote from ten of the most shared and commented pieces I wrote for my blog this past year, along with a link back to that piece if you’d like to learn more about that topic.
In this way, I hope to inspire you to celebrate your accomplishments of the past year in leading your team and organization, as well as to encourage you to find opportunities to become the kind of leader your employees need you to be. The kind of leader who will not only help them to succeed and thrive, but one where you will also find a sense of purpose and fulfilment in what you do.
So here now are my quotes from the top 10 leadership pieces I wrote from 2013, as selected by you, the readers of my blog:
The key to building a thriving organization:
“In our pursuit to create meaning through our shared efforts, we need to ensure that we’re creating value not just for our customers or shareholders, but also for our employees, if not also for the community in which we operate … we have to make sure we’re creating and communicating Click here to continue reading »”A Look Back At My Top 10 Leadership Insights From 2013″
Earlier this month, I gave my last talk for this year – one which examined the role charisma plays in effective leadership. After sharing research findings from the fields of neuroscience and psychology, as well as examining the common characteristics charismatic leaders share, attendees were able to appreciate that being charismatic is not about charm and how others perceive us.
Rather, it’s about how we make those around us feel – about themselves, about their capabilities and the value of what they can contribute to our shared purpose.
Recently, we all got to reflect and appreciate this reality as we looked back on the life of Nelson Mandela and how he chose to lead his life in a way that transformed his country from one that divided people based on the colour of their skin, to a nation that celebrated together his life and the vision he put forth for them to make as their own.
Although we might remember him through his various quotes and speeches, the real leadership lesson to be gleaned from his life is how he empowered those around him to not only envision a better future for all South Africans, but how he encouraged their willingness to embrace the great expectations he placed on each of them to not only do better, but to be better versions of themselves.
And Mandela was able to encourage the best in those around him because he exemplified in his actions and words his confidence that – while a daunting and at times difficult goal – it was one that his followers could nonetheless achieve if they rallied together around a shared purpose; of embracing their commonality and sense of belonging, and using that as the lens through which they understood and appreciated their collective efforts.
I wanted to highlight his message and my talk here in one of my last pieces for this year because Click here to continue reading »”One Important Leadership Lesson To Take Into Next Year”