This is the 12th post in a series on leadership. The posts share insights I collected over my career at Procter & Gamble. I kept a journal on leadership over that time. The wisdom from so many excellent leaders is just as valid today as it was then. My hope is that by summarizing and sharing my notes you might be inspired to look at your own leadership skills and behavior with an eye toward becoming an even better leader. I wish I could claim authorship of all the advice shared in this series. But, I can’t. What I can claim is that my personal journey to learn about and become a leader has been rewarding and it continues into my retirement.
If you found value in the information shared, please take a moment and leave a comment that shares your thinking/insights. It will enrich the learning experience and we will all be better for it. Thanks in advance.
Here are some final tips on leadership I think you may find useful:
Lead by Doing. No organization can confer upon you the role of a leader – you must earn it by playing the part. If you act as the leader, chances are you will be recognized as one. If you claim to be a leader and don’t behave like one, the organization will simply ignore you (or in the worst case ostracize you).
Own the Vision. Without a vision, the organization is without direction. Never underestimate the power of a well-articulated vision to motivate people to action.
Take the lead on an idea. Get an idea that can move the organization where you want it to go. You don’t need to personally conceive the idea, but you must be able to recognize a good one when you hear it. Then test out reactions to the idea by sharing it with stakeholders. Based on the feedback, articulate the idea in a visible way (on paper, in speeches, etc.). If you have effectively pre-seeded the idea with stakeholders, it will draw visible support. Now that you have the lead, drive forward to accomplish the vision.
Act Quickly. You need to step up and lead immediately when the opportunity presents. Organizations abhor a leadership vacuum. If you don’t take the lead quickly, somebody else (or some other organization) will. This is not a call for snap decisions. Rather, it is recognition that you gain the lead by acting quickly and visibly to set the direction.
Maintain Focus. Don’t get distracted with tasks. Know where you want to go and stay the course. Choose to focus on the few, major goals you want the organization to achieve and constantly bring them to the forefront of the work to be done. These are the action steps that make a real difference. If your organization wanders, it is most likely because you personally got off track. As the leader, your behavior sets the standard for your organization.
5-E Leadership Model Revisited
I have written on this model before. It is my favorite way to think about leadership. In this last of the 12-part series on leadership, I thought it might be instructional to describe what “good looks like” for each step of the model.
- Create the future; gain enrollment, alignment, and commitment.
- Anticipate conditions for strategic change that will arise in the future.
- Make the critical few choices necessary to win.
- Inspire people to deliver the future.
- Create a sense of urgency.
- Create and manage personal/organization transition.
- Instill the required behaviors.
- Align key stakeholders and organizations to the vision.
- Secure appropriate priority and resources.
- Define what help looks like.
- Constantly communicate progress to sustain alignment.
- Build people’s capability to achieve the goals.
- Empower the organization through effective delegation.
- Create the conditions for success.
- Be a servant leader.
- Establish consistency of purpose.
- Establish stretching but achievable goals.
- Create action plans with synchronized timetables.
- Define a transparent process for effective decision-making.
- Break through barriers as they arise.
- Implement effective project management processes.
I would really like to have a good conversation about the entire leadership series. What are your thoughts? Is the information helpful? Is it consistent with your own experience? Was there anything missed that would add value to understanding what leadership is and how to be a great leader?
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