What Kind Of Leader Are You?

What Kind Of Leader Are You?

Advice from Wendy Smith.  Wendy is a Career and Life Coach helping you find fresh perspectives on life and your career.  You can book a FREE coaching session or find out more at this link

What Kind Of Leader Are You? Well, let me ask you a question. If you had a choice, what kind of person would you want to follow? It is a good question to ask yourself if you are leader in any capacity. That means from leading a hobby group, a small work team or even a major corporation.

There are some obvious characteristics in our “good leader”, aren’t there? For example, we would all want a leader who acted with integrity. Integrity is the very bedrock of trust and we all hope that we can trust the person who is showing us the way ahead.  As for me, I want to follow someone I believe when they tell me it is safe to take a risk. I’m not going to walk across that rope bridge to a what you tell me is a bright future unless I believe that it really is strong enough to keep me out of the river. Sometimes of course you won’t know any more than I do – but you will certainly know how to find out as much as possible. And you’ll tell me clearly what the facts are and why I should take the risk anyway, if I should.

Of course, we want a leader who has a clear vision of where we are trying to go And their works can paint it so that we can see the destination too. We want someone who can paint the future in colours that lead us to have enough faith to step out with them. We need a message that gets us all turning in the same direction – marching along together. The vision needs to be bright enough to illuminate the way.

What Kind Of Leader Are You?

Most of us would like to follow a leader who wasn’t working for their own ends but for ours. That is a servant leader who is prepared to act with compassion. John Maxwell put it this way: “Servant-leaders never pursue a mission at the expense of their people. Rather, servant-leaders earn the loyalty and best efforts of their people by serving the interests and investing in the development of those they lead. A servant-leader wants to see others succeed.”

Good leaders know that they’re only as good as the people who support them. They invest time and energy in ensuring the well-being and success of their team.

So, what kind of leader are you? Are you demonstrating integrity, vision and compassion? If not, what changes do you plan to make? You will need to change something won’t you? That is if you are serious about your career and expect others to follow you.

If you would like some help in developing your leadership skills please get in touch. Good leaders are modest enough to know that working with a coach really can make a difference.
Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in helping people lead happier lives and feel more fulfilled. She has worked in management as well as coaching and personal development, as well as starting up her own businesses. That means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up a new business or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. 

Need help finding work, with problems at work, at home or with relationships? Book a FREE coaching session with Wendy or find out more at this link

 

Organisational culture

Organisational culture

Organisational culture – an organisation’s culture is a complex system with a organisational culturemultitude of interrelated processes and mechanisms that keep it humming along.  Sometimes it is hard for the leadership team to really understand the culture of the organisation they lead.

This is true particularly if they follow the traditional pattern and don’t move much from the leadership floor!

The leading team may think they determine the culture when they agree a vision and define the values that go with it.

“Oh yes, we are on a mission and we have a mission statement too! It is all in the hands of our Comm’s Director, so I’m sure people understand what it means and reflect it in our culture!”

Really? Unless those vision and mission statements are truly reinforced throughout the organization, they can be meaningless in terms of the culture.

So, do you understand your organisational culture. How do you know what is happening where you are? Here are a few questions for you to think about;

  • Are your organisation’s vision and values reflected in performance reviews and training programmes?
  • What about you financial reward systems? Do they reinforce them?
  • How about memos and communications? Do they highlight what the leadership team thinks are important.
  • What about management actions? For example, are more junior promotions for people who toe the line? Or are they for people who go out on a limb to pursue your vision?

In reality, in most organisations, the culture develops unconsciously and organically. It creates a system that, while not always ideal, does work.

Changing an organisational culture is a real challenge!

It is hard to do without losing the good things you have now. Of course, that assumes that as a leadership team, you are clear about what good things you do have now!

If you are serious about your vision. And you really want to see your values in practice. Then you may have some hard work ahead!

But, of course, until you understand the culture you have now, you won’t know what you need to do. Will you?

Time to start asking some questions, I think!

Working with an executive coach really can help you get your organisation to perform well. Why not take advantage of my offer of a free half hour coaching session to find out how I can help.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organizational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Creating Vision for Change

Creating Vision for Change

Leading Change the Kotter Way

Creating vision for change is the third step in the Kotter model.  I’ve written quite creating visiona bit here about the Kotter approach to leading change and I am in process of revamping my original Kotter model series.  This post deals with creating a vision that people can understand, get on board with and remember. Links to my posts on the earlier stages are in the next paragraph.

The model is based on research which showed that there are eight critical steps an organisation or service needs to go through to ensure that change happens and sticks. This series of posts will consider these steps in greater detail. we have already dealt with; Step One: Create Urgency, Step Two: Form a Powerful Coalition and Step Four: Communicate Your Vision.

Step Three: Create a Vision for Change

When you first start thinking about change, there will probably be many great ideas and solutions floating around.  You need to link these concepts together into an overall vision so that people can grasp them easily and remember.

A clear vision can help everyone understand why you’re asking them to do something – even when it is uncomfortable. When people see for themselves what you’re trying to achieve, then the directives they’re given tend to make more better sense and they can commit to them.

They will expect you as the leader to have a sense of the direction of travel. Something about the vision needs to catch their imagination and help them to stay headed in the same direction.

Here are some steps to help you create your vision:

  • Determine the values that are central to the change. What are the values of your organisation and how do you want to reflect them in the future and in creating vision.
  • Develop a short summary (one or two sentences) that captures what you “see” as the future of your organisation. Make it colourful. How will it have meaning for others?
  • Try your vision out on a colleague – can they see the big picture?
  • Create your strategy so that it executes your vision. What are the big steps on the way?
  • Ensure that your change/guiding coalition (see the links below) can describe the vision in five minutes or less.
  • Practice your “vision speech” often. Make you can feel as well as see your vision when you practice
  • Listen carefully to the responses as you share your vision and consider making adjustments

Next in this series I am going to write more about sharing your vision. Stage 4 in the Kotter model is  about communicating the vision.

Meanwhile…

Here is a Kotter Reading List for you;

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

What Kind Of Leader Are You?

What Kind Of Leader Are You?

What kind of leader are you? So, if you had a choice, what kind of person would you want to follow? It is a good question to ask yourself if you are leader in any capacity – from a hobby group, a small work team to a major corporation.

Well, there are some obvious characteristics, aren’t there? For example, we would all want a leader who acted with integrity. Integrity is the very bedrock of trust and we all hope that we can trust the person who is showing us the way ahead.  As for me, I want to follow someone I can believe when they tell me it is safe to take a risk. I’m not going to walk across that rope bridge to a what you tell me is a bright future unless I believe that it really is strong enough to keep me out of the river. Now, sometimes of course you won’t know any more than I do – but you will certainly know how to find out as much as possible. And you’ll tell me clearly what the facts are and why I should take the risk anyway, if I should.

Then, of course, we want a leader who has a clear vision of where we are trying to go and can paint it in a way that we can see the destination too. We want someone who can paint the future in colours that lead us to have enough faith to step out with them. We need a message that gets us all turning in the same direction and marching a long together. That vision needs to be bright enough to illuminate the way.

Most of all we would like to follow a leader who wasn’t working for their own ends but for ours; a servant leader who is prepared to act with compassion. John Maxwell put it this way: “Servant-leaders never pursue a mission at the expense of their people. Rather, servant-leaders earn the loyalty and best efforts of their people by serving the interests and investing in the development of those they lead. A servant-leader wants to see others succeed.” Good leaders know that they’re only as good as the people who support them and so they invest time and energy in ensuring the well-being and success of their team.

What Kind Of Leader Are You?

So, what kind of leader are you? Are you demonstrating integrity, vision and compassion? If not, what changes do you plan to make? You will need to change something won’t you, if you are serious about your career and expect others to follow you.

If you would like some help in developing your leadership skills please get in touch. Good leaders are modest enough to know that working with a coach really can make a difference.

Wendy Mason is the The Career Coach – helping you to find fresh perspectives on your Job Search and Career. She helps you work towards your goals and aspirations, in a way that fits in with both work and home life. Email her at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com,  find her on Skype at wendymason14, or call +44 (0) 2081239146 (02081239146 for UK callers) or +1 262 317 9016 if you are in the US.

A free trial/consultation allows you to try phone coaching from the comfort of your own home and without risk. Don’t forget to ask about the Summer Special Offer 

 

 

Create a Shared Vision!

Create a Shared Vision!

Create a Shared Vision – What do followers want? A leader with a compelling vision of the future – which is not usually that leader’s personal view. New research shows that followers respond to a leader who can articulate a vision.  I hope you enjoy this post from Harvard Business Review.

To Lead, Create a Shared Vision

Being forward-looking—envisioning exciting possibilities and enlisting others in a shared view of the future—is the attribute that most distinguishes leaders from nonleaders. We know this because we asked followers.

In an ongoing project surveying tens of thousands of working people around the world, we asked, “What do you look for and admire in a leader (defined as someone whose direction you would willingly follow)?” Then we asked, “What do you look for and admire in a colleague (defined as someone you’d like to have on your team)?” The number one requirement of a leader—honesty—was also the top-ranking attribute of a good colleague. But the second-highest requirement of a leader, that he or she be forward-looking, applied only to the leader role. Just 27% of respondents selected it as something they want in a colleague, whereas 72% wanted it in a leader. (Among respondents holding more-senior roles in organizations, the percentage was even greater, at 88%.) No other quality showed such a dramatic difference between leader and colleague.

This points to a huge challenge for the rising executive: The trait that most separates the leaders from individual contributors is something that they haven’t had to demonstrate in prior, nonleadership roles. Perhaps that’s why so few leaders seem to have made a habit of looking ahead; researchers who study executives’ work activities estimate that only 3% of the typical business leader’s time is spent envisioning and enlisting. The challenge, as we know, only escalates with managerial level: Leaders on the front line must anticipate merely what comes after current projects wrap up. People at the next level of leadership should be looking several years into the future. And those in the C-suite must focus on a horizon some 10 years distant.

So how do new leaders develop this forward-looking capacity?

You can read the rest of this post at this link

 

Leadership:To Lead, Create a Shared Vision!

What do followers want? A leader with a compelling vision of the future – which is not usually that leader’s personal view. New research shows that followers respond to a leader who can articulate a vision.  I hope you enjoy this post from Harvard Business Review.

To Lead, Create a Shared Vision

Being forward-looking—envisioning exciting possibilities and enlisting others in a shared view of the future—is the attribute that most distinguishes leaders from nonleaders. We know this because we asked followers.

In an ongoing project surveying tens of thousands of working people around the world, we asked, “What do you look for and admire in a leader (defined as someone whose direction you would willingly follow)?” Then we asked, “What do you look for and admire in a colleague (defined as someone you’d like to have on your team)?” The number one requirement of a leader—honesty—was also the top-ranking attribute of a good colleague. But the second-highest requirement of a leader, that he or she be forward-looking, applied only to the leader role. Just 27% of respondents selected it as something they want in a colleague, whereas 72% wanted it in a leader. (Among respondents holding more-senior roles in organizations, the percentage was even greater, at 88%.) No other quality showed such a dramatic difference between leader and colleague.

This points to a huge challenge for the rising executive: The trait that most separates the leaders from individual contributors is something that they haven’t had to demonstrate in prior, nonleadership roles. Perhaps that’s why so few leaders seem to have made a habit of looking ahead; researchers who study executives’ work activities estimate that only 3% of the typical business leader’s time is spent envisioning and enlisting. The challenge, as we know, only escalates with managerial level: Leaders on the front line must anticipate merely what comes after current projects wrap up. People at the next level of leadership should be looking several years into the future. And those in the C-suite must focus on a horizon some 10 years distant.

So how do new leaders develop this forward-looking capacity?

You can read the rest of this post at this link

 

Organizational culture, what organizational culture?

Really?

An organization’s culture is a complex system with a multitude of interrelated processes and mechanisms that keep it humming along.   Sometimes it is hard for the leadership team to really understand the culture of the organization they lead.

This is true particularly if they follow the traditional pattern and don’t move much from the leadership floor!

The leading team may think they determine the culture when they agree a vision and define the values that go with it.

“Oh yes, we are on a mission and we have a mission statement too! It is all in the hands of our Comm’s Director, so I’m sure people understand what it means and reflect it in our culture!”

Really? Unless those vision and mission statements are truly reinforced throughout the organization, they can be meaningless in terms of the culture.

So how do you know what is happening where you are?  Well here are a few questions for you to think about;

  • Are your organization’s vision and values reflected in performance reviews and training programmes?
  • What about you financial reward systems – do they reinforce them?
  • What about memos and communications do they highlight what the leadership team thinks are important.
  • What about management actions — for example, are more junior promotions for people who toe the line or are they for people who go out on a limb to pursue your vision?

In reality, in most organizations the culture develops unconsciously and organically to create a system that, while not always ideal, does work.

Changing a culture is a real challenge!  It is hard to do without losing the good things you have now.

Of course, that assumes as a leadership team, you are clear about the good things you have now!

If you are serious about your vision and you really want to see your values in practice, then you may have some hard work ahead!

But, of course, until you understand the culture you have now, you won’t know what you need to do, will you?

Time to start asking some questions, I think!

  • Vision Statement (wisewolftalking.com)
  • Value based leadership (leadershipforlife.wordpress.com)
  • How Does the Quality of Leadership Impact Employee Motivation? (thinkup.waldenu.edu)


I am Wendy Mason and I work as a Personal Development Coach, Consultant and Writer I work with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those;

  • looking for work
  • looking for promotion or newly promoted
  • moving between Public and Private Sectors
  • facing redundancy
  • moving into retirement

I am very good at helping you sort out what you want, overcome obstacles and handle change.   Email me at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com for more information


Leadership, Vision and Steve Jobs

I’ve been looking at the biographies of Steve Jobs and Tim Cook on the Apple Website. Gosh what a contrast!

There is Steve whose picture is now, strikingly, in colour, with his background in the Imagineering world of Disney and Pixar.

While Tim looks bright, cheerful, pleasant and just a little corporate.

But let us hope Tim has learned much from the master. It really is vision, quality and understanding the market that marks out success for Apple, rather than sensitive handling of employees or the supply chain!

Steve Jobs spent 12 tumultuous, painful years of failure before returning to Apple to make it the success it is today. He learned about leadership the hard way!

Yes, leadership, because his management style still sounds unusual at best!

“Steve might be capable of reducing someone to tears,” according to former colleague Pat Crecine, “but it’s not because he’s mean-spirited; it’s because he’s absolutely single minded, almost manic, in his pursuit of quality and excellence.”

John Sculley adds: “He possessed an innate sense of knowing exactly how to extract the best from people.”

Steve’s view: “My job is not to be easy on people. My job is to take these great people we have and to push them and make them even better.”

The Australian newspaper, Herald Sun, published a story about a girl from Melbourne (Hollie) with vision problems whose life was changed with iPad and its ability to zoom in on text materials. She wrote to Steve and he replied as follows;

“Thanks for sharing your experience with me. Do you mind if I read your email to a group of our top 100 leaders at Apple? Thanks, Steve”

He even asked for the picture above! Steve has had a habit of taking what he considered to be “Apple’s top 100 people” to a yearly offsite retreat and another habit of his is to read his favourite emails to an audience as inspiration.

A year ago the Telegraph described him as messianic, evangelistic and utterly devoted to the art of making beautiful products that ‘just work’!

Steve Jobs is thought of very highly not just by those within his industry, but in the wider business community.

Even Bill Gates, widely seen as Jobs’ nemesis, has a great deal of respect for his rival, and the way he revitalised Apple’s fortunes. “He’s done a fantastic job. Of all the leaders in the industry that I’ve worked with, he showed more inspiration and he saved the company.”

Rupert Murdoch rates him as the best chief executive around. “He’s got such incredible focus. He’s got such power inspiring the people around him who work for him”.

Kevin Compton, who was a senior executive at Businessland during Steve’s years in the wilderness described him after his return to Apple: “He’s the same Steve in his passion for excellence, but a new Steve in his understanding of how to empower a large company to realize his vision.”

Let us hope for Apple’s sake that he has passed on that particular gift to Tim Cook.

Vision Statement

Bushman's Paradise at Spitzkoppe
Image via Wikipedia

Your   vision;

  1. Articulates your dreams and hopes for your business.
  2. Reminds you of what you are trying to build.
  3. Captures your passion.
  4. Defines your purpose and values.
  5. Should be your inspiration.
  6. Determines your priorities.
  7. Is a long-term view.
  8. Defines the way the  organization will look in the future.
  9. Sets the direction for your business planning
  10. Influences decision making and the way you allocate resources.
  11. Is for you and the other members of your organization.

Your vision is not

  1. A map to tell you how you’re going to get to the promised land
  2. For just for one year or two
  3. For your customers or clients although it can be shared with them
  4. Owned by you alone.

Visions only work if you share them with others – spread the Power, spread the Purpose, spread the Passion.

Formal Definition – A vision statement is an aspirational description of what an organization would like to achieve or accomplish in the mid-term or long-term future. It is intended to serve as a clear guide for choosing current and future courses of action. See also mission statement. Courtesy of http://www.businessdictionary.com/
  • Leading Change – do you have a great vision? (wisewolftalking.com)

Leading Change – do you have a great vision?

A great vision needs to be about the future but it will fail if it is not firmly rooted in the present. You may wish to change a group but you can’t ignore its history, culture and organization.  Most of all you need to make sure there is a connection to its values.

This is where those who are new to the organization sometimes come adrift when leading and managing change.  Even if you are trying to move existing values on, you cannot totally ignore them in your vision for the future.  Somehow in your change, those in the existing organization need to feel that their present values are being honoured.

Your vision needs to have roots but it needs to be future focussed and challenging – it needs to reflect and set high standards, and high ideals.  Make your vision something that people will want to live up to.  That means it will keep chins high when you hit the difficult patches!

Your vision should inspire – you want it to raise enthusiasm and commitment. It is much more likely to do that if it touches the needs and aspirations of all those who have a stake in it.  This includes not only those inside the organization but also clients, customers, users and, if possible, your suppliers.

Make sure your vision can be understood – communicate it well.  Make it clear and unambiguous! Paint pictures when you talk about it that people can take away and imagine for themselves.  Make this a future they can see in their minds and want to be a part of.

Make your vision unique and distinctive – not to be confused with where we said we were going five years ago.  This must be special.

Above all make your vision ambitious!  Make sure that people can see that real progress will have been made when your vision is achieved.  This should be a vision that expands everyone’s horizons.

So to sum up your vision needs to be

  1. Appropriate to your history, culture and values
  2. Challenging with high standards and high ideals
  3. Inspirational
  4. Aspirational – reflecting the aspirations of all those with an interest
  5. Understandable
  6. Distinctive
  7. Ambitious

I’d love to hear you experience of working with visions – what has worked for you and what has not worked?

  • Leading Change – Your Vision in an Uncertain Future – Scenario Planning (wisewolftalking.com)
  • Leading Change – deciding who leads! (wisewolftalking.com)
  • Leading Change – Creating a Powerful Guiding Coalition (wisewolftalking.com)


Wendy Mason works as a personal and business coach, consultant and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you.  Email her at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)7867681439