Leaders must understand each context in order to use the right leadership styles in a given situation.
First order of business is sense-making. The ability to make sense with the environment and structure the unknown.
Second is the ability to apply the best leadership and managerial approach in that context. There are many styles ranging from charismatic, transformational, authoritarian, consensus-based, among others. Use them wisely with a certain objective in mind and learn to adapt as you go along.
Third, reflect on what happened when you applied a certain leadership approach. Did it matter at the end of the day? Were your staff able to understand why you had to act that way? What were the results in behaviors and attitudes towards work? Did it solve the problem at hand?
You can't be a one-pony-show at all times. You have to exhibit a wide range of responses and styles that could help you not just solve day-t0-day problems but lead you to your strategic goals as a leader and manager.
Instead of being reactive, choose adaptive. Instead of putting out fires on a daily basis, embrace ambiguity and improvisation.
There are many ways bureaucratic organizations refuse to believe that the horse is dead and would try different approaches to prove to themselves that it's not so.
1. Appoint a committee to study the horse.
2. Create a training session to improve riding skills.
3. Increase funding to improve the horse's performance.
4. Visit other site to see how they ride dead horses.
5. Declare that no horse is too dead to ride.
6. Buy a stronger whip.
7. Increase the standards for riding dead horses.
8. Hire an external consultant to show a dead horse can be ridden.
9. Form a workgroup to find uses for a dead horse, if all else fails.
10. Promote the dead horse to a supervisory position or vice president.
Stop beating the dead horse in your organization.
This could be a rehashed idea, practice, or custom that are no longer relevant, valuable, and appropriate to the times.
The costs of reviving the old to account for the new versus creating new out of new experiences, discoveries, and insights are far greater.
Consider investing in the right tools and mechanisms to get to 'new ideas' and become better at attracting the right champions to it.
Source: Another vision of the story may be found at www.abcsmallbiz.com/funny/deadhorse.html
There's no paucity of resources in growing under challenging times. Growing, though runs the risk of getting into all sorts of complications.
On-purpose organizations should aim for simplicity, not just in operations but in strategy.
The moment the strategy gets lost in the minds of stakeholders in the organization, confusion and frustration set in.
I was working for a non-profit organization a few years ago where a grand vision was unveiled only to be reduced to a few doable 'strategic chunks' at the end of the honeymoon phase between the Board and the new managers. No resources and incentives were set in place to fuel the commitment to action. It became one of those 'false starts.'
High on good will, the leaders lost it by failing to bring down the vision into its elegant simplicity, which means showing the first key steps to making it real in the lives of customers and seeing progress through.
Simplicity is far from failure work and simplistic notions. By working on simplicity, organizations with scarce resources and under-pressure to provide value for less can support their mission with greater clarity and effectiveness.
People are not necessarily afraid of change. It’s the journey that gets to them, most of the time.
Show them that the future is that good that incentives for switching outweigh the perceived or imagined problems.
When everything is urgent, nothing is urgent.
When everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.
Change efforts go by the wayside if there's not enough urgency within the organization
to ensure that it will be given an undivided attention and resources it needs. Moving the strategic priorities into implementation requires consistent and constant pressure from management that understands strategic management.
85% of strategic plans do not get implemented. When the rubber hits the road, the tendency is to focus on the day-t0-day mundane issues, relegating the higher objectives into the backburner. This stop-and-go scenario will delay your progress and unconsciously reward inventing obstacles.
Managers and leaders- stop treating all crisis as equal. You should know how to treat priorities as real priorities, or your employees will not believe another memo with an urgent stamp.
It's not what they hear, it's what they see in action that gets believed.
The majority of people in organizations will just gladly go along any changes communicated as a positive development in the right direction.
But for some, change is not an easy sell, and more processes need to happen to ensure buy-in for all important stakeholders. As an on-purpose leader, you can take these small steps:
1. Overcommunicate the positive gains and the immediate steps.
The rest of the time, it's the middle phase that's ambiguous but not necessary to be bogged down by it. Keep the focus on the high-level objectives and what they can do right away. Immediate steps take their eyes off worries and fears, and lead them to practical things they can work on.
2. Be clear about the challenges and pains that will be faced
Do not promise the moon and the stars. What is mostly likely to happen in the beginning is that there would be massive amounts of adjustments to be made and then, the 'settling' period which would be the 'in-between' moments for most people. Tell them all the pains that will have to be endured and don't gloss over critical issues for each departments to do.
3. Resist going back and staying in one place in the change continuum
Do not go back romanticizing the past ways or methods of doing things. Resist this water-cooler talks in your office and in your boardroom. The legroom of moving initially is already an achievement in itself. You have come along in this continuum.
But don't rest your laurels in one place. You have to move to the next level-whether is developing and strengthening your talent, building a pipeline of future clients and customers, building a knowledge management system, among others. It could also mean preparing your Board Trustees and executives for a robust leadership role throughout these change period.
4. Celebrate with your key team and learn ways to accelerate
Gravity pulls us down. As much as we'd like to think that all the resisting dragons are slayed. Inertia and entropy, like gravity can bring organizations out of their momentum and elide their impact. Learn ways to accelerate and defy the need to do a lot of consultations which would not add value or wait for the next greenlight from higher-ups.
Be the best believer of this transformation in your organization. When the chips are down, remember, this is a phase, not the end. Resistors are not enemies to be thrown out of the bus. You should appreciate the value they provide and how much worth the journey it is to keep them alongside with you throughout the process.
Everyday, people are moving on with their lives. They are getting married, having babies, building companies, hiring people, and trying to make a living.
If there's one consolation we can derive from another extended lockdown- we don't have to meet people, we don't want to meet.
We don't want to waste our time in meetings that go nowhere.
We don't have to fall in line in stores when we know we can buy online.
We don't have to drive or ride a plane to get to seminars, workshops, conferences.
But we want to, we will make a way for things to happen.
If you're not moving on, you are resisting the flow of action.
Contradictions rule our time. Everything is in flux, including yourself.
Go with flow and welcome uncertainty as a given.