Leadership Acts Newsletter
   Wanted: Leadership Results
   April 2006

There are four sections to Leadership Acts this month:

  1. Focus on Getting Results
  2. Decisions under Pressure
  3. Maximizing Investment
  4. Improving Communities

  1. Focus on Getting Results

    Every successful leader is personally credible. The absence of credibility contributes reduces effective appropriate authority and influence, both of which are essential in fostering and deepening employee commitment in organizations. In historically stable environments, bosses and managers could expect compliance from employees. Many referred to employees as subordinates, arising from the concepts of keep people under, beneath, below, or behind. Subordinates were under fire, under the gun, behind the scenes, and below the radar. Personal credibility rests on mutual exchanges between employees and leaders and exists on the foundation of rapport building.

    When leaders embark on understanding others, they spring from sources of self-knowing and wisdom. Leaders demonstrate style flexibility and know how to balance esteem and worth issues. A leader checks his or her assumptions regarding success, driving their abilities to understand and to engage others. Engagement contributes to results.

    The leader's focus on self-concept positions him or here to use self-disclosure. Others are more likely to follow when the sense that the leader is human, full of a range of experience and connected to the world. Leaders connect because they create an emotional response and because they respond to emotion. New results often emerge for leaders when they are able to identify, label, and change embedded behavioral patterns.

    Getting results requires that leaders create environments for success. Results-oriented leaders stimulate conversations and explore options with others. The discussions aren't about weather conditions. Rather, the conversations focus on topics of importance and the improvement of interactions. Additionally, leaders focused on results anticipate and deal with setbacks. Setbacks can fuel innovation and result breakthroughs. Are you doing enough personally to achieve results with others?

  2. Decisions under Pressure

    The flattening world, fueled by advances in technology, pushes more information to leaders than ever before in history. Increasingly, additional data sources and flows contribute to decision-making pressure. There are four key considerations in making decisions under pressure.

    Concentration is the first consideration when decisions challenge human performance capacity. Concentration occurs by developing focus and attending to here and now issues. When leaders concentrate, they engage others. Leaders refuse to isolate because they recognize that it limits thoughtfulness. Expanded concentration facilitates a long-reach consideration of decision impacts.

    Next, leaders assess risk as a strategic consideration when there is pressure to make decisions. Risk assessment skill increases with self-awareness, team-focus, and organizational knowledge. Perceptive leaders routinely review knowledge in these three areas: self, team, and organization. They acknowledge the need for speed in decision-making while accepting responsibility for outcomes. Technology serves as a decision-making aid; it is never a substitute for the human experience.

    Performance is the third element that requires consideration in decision-making. Performance is visible to others; we cannot hide from our impact. Consequently, leaders understand and are open to measures that contribute to understanding results and impacts. Clear communication pathways define effective decision-making. In short, attitude does matter.

    Finally, given that the increasing number of decisions made under pressure, leaders manage stress. They clarify priorities and develop disciplined procedures. Prioritization and discipline arises from life's lesions and an experimental orientation. These factors thrive when the leader takes the longer view in an environment ruled by the deceptive success of short-term gains.

  3. Maximizing Investment

    Leaders desiring to maximize their investments in organizational change presume that growth is an achievable aim. Ultimately, this requires the leader and his or her organization to face reality. It requires determination of vision - a clear picture of the organization and its environment. Most change entails a series of trade-offs, and leaders drive for enlightened understanding of the choices they make and their impacts on people and communities. Leaders maximizing investment learn to change and to shape the organizational culture.

    As leaders maximize investment, they allocate rewards to demonstrate appreciation and recognition. People engage in honest assessments of performance, thereby reducing managerial gaps in integrity. The alignment of rewards and honest assessment fuel development planning and assist with talent attraction and retention.

    Deepened understanding of changes goes hand-in-hand with investment maximization. The commitment to change begins with multiple layers and levels of assessment and desire to fulfill vision. Reinforcement of desired behaviors supports change.

    Increasing investment in change requires that a leader and his or her team arrive at new levels of clarity. Leaders avoid and shun the impersonal, acknowledge that success requires a focus on both issues and people. High-touch environments facilitate future growth and desirable returns on change investments.

  4. Improving Communities

    When leaders want to improve communities, they begin by determining how to gain traction in the communities in which they operate. Transaction requires stakeholder involvement that focuses the organization on its ethics, diversity, and motivation to assist. When this focus flourishes, it helps people and the organization to succeed. The improvement community and organization is both a task and process that develops focus.

    With focus comes the potential to understand results. Dialogues with stakeholders, driven by unquestionable executive support, create impacts on organizational performance, talent attraction, and talent retention. Some leaders and organizations are doing remarkable work in improving corporate social responsibility - all with an eye towards improving organizational performance.

    The challenge of improving organizations requires that leader embrace change and the possibility of both reform and improvement. Taking on a mindset for social change enables leaders to understand organizational values in action and facilitates a long-term focus on organizational growth.

    Ultimately, what we do as leaders makes and impact on our societies and on the world. It demonstrates that we care about others. It is about giving back and expanding the margins of leadership and organization. Demand is growing for leaders who recognize and embrace that they are changing more than the organizations that they serve.

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