Archive for October, 2010
This article is designed to provide cutting edge guidance for you – entrepreneurs, executives and business leaders – who are involved in leading the strategic direction of your own lives and your businesses.
This short article will provide you with a powerful birds-eye view on what being an organizational leader is all about on a personal level. Take your time with it. Read it once and read it again. Like a good wine or a great friend, it develops its clarity, flavor and value over time.
You will discover the main areas of expertise, knowledge, and understanding, that are needed to successfully lead your organization in today’s complex and fast-changing world.
The area we look at today is that of Personal Attributes. This is the blend of your knowledge, expertise, character and competencies encapsulated in your approach, your behavior as a leader.
In organizations of all sizes and in all sectors, public and private, these characteristics are key to your effective leadership. Your essential personal attributes are as follows:
Behaving Ethically- by learning about the ethical issues and concerns that impact your business sector; adopting a balanced, open-minded approach to the ethical concerns of others; considering the ethical issues and implications of all personal actions and organizational activity; raising and discussing ethical issues before proposing or agreeing to decisions; resisting pressures from your organization or its partners to achieve objectives by unethical means. Basically, it boils down to being decent in your dealings with other people. Can’t stress this point enough.
Thinking Strategically- by learning and understanding how all the different functions, systems and layers of your organization should ideally work together.
Understanding the complexities of, and the changes happening in, your external environment, and considering how your organization can best respond the these; understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your organization, and the opportunities and threats facing it; understanding how the strategic objectives are influenced by all the current and forecast influences that will impact your organization; understanding that the operational objectives and targets must be in line with and support the values, guiding principles and strategic objectives of your organization; being aware of and responding intelligently to the behavior of current and potential competitors.
Supporting Personal And Organizational Goals- by helping to create and communicate a vision which can be understood and supported by people at all levels; helping others to understand and contribute to the strategic goals; giving visible personal support to the strategic direction and specific goals set by you and your organization.
Communicating Effectively- by being responsive to messages and signals from the internal and external environments; making effective use of communication channels from and to all levels within your organization; pro-actively encourage the exchange of information within your organization, and amongst suppliers, customers and partners; listening to others, including those with opposing views, carefully and thoughtfully; selecting personal communication styles that are appropriate to the different situations and audiences.
Gathering Information- by establishing multiple channels and networks which generate a constant flow of information, from within and outside the organization; regularly and consistently gathering, analyzing, challenging, and using the information gathered.
Making Decisions- by establishing a consistent approach to the analysis of information; drawing on personal experience and knowledge to identify current and potential problems and opportunities; considering a range of solutions before selecting the final one; ensuring that the selected decision is feasible, achievable, and affordable; considering the impact of the decision on all stakeholders, at all levels, before approving implementation.
Developing Effective Teams- by appreciating the contribution of others, at all levels in your organization; ensuring that individuals and teams are kept informed of plans, developments and issues that will affect them; ensuring that individual and team development schemes are given appropriate priority; providing personal support for the implementation and maintenance of development activities for individuals and teams at all levels.
Behaving Assertively- by understanding and responding to various personal roles and responsibilities; adopting a leading role in initiating necessary action and decision making; taking personal responsibility for decisions and actions; being properly prepared for involvement in activities and events; remaining confident and professional in dealing with change and challenges; refusing unreasonable demands; defending and protecting individuals and teams from unfair or discriminatory actions; attempting to remain courteous and professional in manner at all times.
Concentrating On Results- by contributing to the establishment of an organizational culture that serves the whole person, sets high standards and aims at high levels of meaningful performance; focusing on relevant objectives and planned outcomes; dealing with issues and problems when they arise; planning and scheduling personal work and the work of others in ways which make best use of the available resources; delegating appropriately; giving personal attention to the critical issues and events.
Managing Yourself- by reflecting regularly on your personal development, performance and progress; pro-actively asking others for feedback on personal performance and blind spots; changing personal behavior in the light of feedback received; being responsible and taking responsibility for your own personal development needs.
Presenting a Positive Image- by adopting a leading role in initiating continuous right action and conscious decision making; behaving in a professional manner; being open-minded and responsive to the needs of others; visibly working towards personal and organizational development goals; adopting an ethical approach to all personal and organizational activity; being even tempered, positive and supportive to your colleagues; demonstrating fairness and generating integrity at all times.
These essential attributes are many, and difficult to maintain consistently, but they are the attributes needed by, and expected of effective conscious business leaders.
The size of your organization, the business sector, whether public or private, is of little consequence.
Leaders who do well continuously aim to be role models for themselves and others, be visible champions of high standards of insightful, professional and ethical behavior, be leaders who others in their organizations can be proud of and that competitors can inspire to.
Not many of these characteristics are imbued in our leaders by default. They have to be learned, can be learned, and should then be continuously developed, practiced and enhanced with joyful enthusiasm and perseverance.
With these personal attributes in place, and being demonstrated in behavior and actions over time, you will continue to not only feel more balanced and empowered in your task but also experience your leadership as more effective and more successful.
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