Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Who are you and what do you stand for?

If, as I've repeatedly suggested, leadership is a lot about character and is affected greatly by a leader's personality, values and vision - then consider the following very scary questions....

How would a colleague describe you to someone significant that you hadn't met? What would be their response to questions about your values and your vision? If someone asked a member of your own team 'what does xyz stand for?'... what do you think they would say?

You'd be wise to think carefully and deeply about these questions. The picture of 'you' that people carry in their heads affects everything...
  • It shapes the spirit in which they hear what you say
  • It shapes how they respond to your requests and needs
  • It determines how much attention they give to your work
  • It 'places' you in their league table of priorities
  • It adds to or subtracts from your ability to affect change
More than 10 years ago, Daniel Goleman wrote an article in Harvard Business Review entitled 'what makes a leader'. It has become a modern classic and a think-piece for our time. Although he had introduced the original idea of Emotional Intelligence a few years earlier, it was this seminal piece that projected EI into the mainstream of leadership & management thinking - and that first seriously proposed the idea that technical skill, cognitive IQ and experience might not be sufficient reasons to appoint someone to a leadership role - and might not even be particularly significant factors in a leader's effectiveness. I commend the article to you. It is easy to find on the web - and it builds on the meagre paragraphs I offer here on the significance of the way you are perceived.

Try asking a few trusted colleagues my opening questions - and ask them to be open and honest with you. Whatever they tell you is some of the most important feedback you will ever receive.

Use it well.

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