Realizing LeadershipRecently Laurie Wilhelm, editor of the online publication, Realizing Leadership, interviewed me on a range of leadership topics. It was a stimulating conversation. She summarized our discussion in a Q & A article now available on our web site at “Leadership Behaviors“.

Given my meandering musings on a very broad topic, Laurie did an excellent job of writing, editing, and polishing to make me sound fairly coherent!

As I reviewed “Leadership Behaviors” and reflect on my own highlights and learnings from 2016, a few key points and thoughts stand out:

  • What leaders often view as staying on top of operations and guiding their team can often be seen as micromanagement.
  • I judge myself by my intentions. Others judge us by our actions. Many leaders don’t realize how his or her actions are perceived. Too often this blissful ignorance leads to lower engagement, performance, and results.
  • When you think of the best leaders you know they’re defined by the presence of a few profound strengths, not the absence of weaknesses. We’ll often live with, or trade off, weaker leadership behaviors for the powerful impact of towering strengths.
  • The path to elevating leadership effectiveness is to leverage strengths that intersect with our passions and most pressing organizational needs. That sustains personal development way beyond fixing weaknesses.
  • Weaknesses do need to be addressed if a behavior is so glaring people can’t see past it. Disrespect, poor communications, damaged relationships, or creating team conflict are examples of behaviors that must be fixed.
  • Baby Boomer leaders often hide behind the common myth that millennials need to be led differently. But research shows it’s less about generational differences and more about better leadership for everyone. Millennials are less acclimatized to, and tolerant of, poor leadership. And being early in their careers and eager to learn, millennials want more coaching and feedback — which many leaders do very poorly, if at all.
  • Coaching skill development is becoming a more critical leadership skill in today’s workplace. Many leaders confuse training, mentoring, and coaching. Giving advice isn’t coaching. A key test is who owns the plan and is most motivated to follow through on the conversation.
  • Two simple keys to increasing leadership effectiveness is to 1) Get systematic and regular feedback and 2) Have a personal development plan.

Review, reflection, and renewal is key to growing leadership effectiveness. This is the perfect time of year for it.

As organizational behavior author and consultant, Meg Wheatley, has found “time for reflection with colleagues is for me a lifesaver; it is not just a nice thing to do if you have the time. It is the only way you can survive…. without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.”