Want to be a future leader? Engage a coach!
The call to action of Outsight will help you deal with different challenges on your way to becoming a good leader.
The world is changing fast and with it the expectations about how many and what kind of people need to transition into leadership. These individuals need to expand their jobs, make their contributions more strategic, diversify their networks to connect with all stakeholders and become playful with a sense of purpose. Given the magnitude of today's challenges and the considerable impact of leadership on the future of our economies and societies, this call to action of Outsight should be widely heard and will significantly enhance the practice of leadership.
Involving stakeholders in leadership development
Leaders are usually a single breed within their organisation. They typically have an overwhelming desire to add their two cents to every discussion. They also fail to see that they are mistreating someone. Their position is higher than most and not many people can ask them questions. However, with this stature comes a humongous responsibility towards all the stakeholders of the business. It is only natural then that these stakeholders be involved in the leader's development process to bring out the best results for the organisation. It is straightforward and shared for an executive to blame his supervisor or colleagues for his career's slow progress. These executives look for ways to bypass these partners undertake a secluded path to professional development.
Shutting out stakeholders is wrong
I, for one, am strictly opposed to this approach. I view the involvement of stakeholders as an essential component of the journey towards leadership development. The reasons for this are fundamental. Firstly, no two verticals in an organization are entirely isolated. The interdependent nature of work in these organisations means that the implications of a leader's decisions felt by all the stakeholders which justify their direct interest in the leader's behaviour and professional development.
Keeping the interested parties in the loop during the coaching process also puts an adequate responsibility on the executive who can positively drive his development journey. Involvement of stakeholders gives the impression that you are ready to listen and you value their interest in the organisation. Active participation of stakeholders is also an integral part of corporate governance.
What stakeholders think is important
As a leader, what others think about you or your skills is essential. However out of your control, they may be, but their perceptions towards your leadership skills do count. It is why, perhaps, I emphasise the involvement of stakeholders in the leadership development process. It is essential to bring out a change in the perception of the stakeholders about the behaviour of the leader. While it is not an overnight process, a gradual improvement in their understanding towards the leader would augur exceptionally well for the organisation.
Know your leadership style
Most common advice people usually give to anyone while in a stressful situation is to introspect and look for solutions deep inside. While I do not disapprove of this theory entirely, I firmly believe that too much thinking and no action only weakens a leader and the grip that he should have over his organisation. Knowing your leadership style is a prerequisite towards achieving success in business, and constant introspection plays a big part in that. With that said, there is no substitute for action.
Outsight leader looks forward and not back
One of the traits common among all successful leaders is that they are never shy of trying out things. However, most of the Leaders may not get it right all the time. However, the more things you try, the better is the probability of you getting it right. The leaders that manage to develop this trait are called Outsight leaders. An outsight leader believes in making things happen by trying to indulge in new projects, activities, and interactions. Rather than reflecting on what occurred in the past and trying to make sense of it, outsight leaders keep pace with the fast evolving business environment by constantly trying out things.
Becoming an outsight leader is one of those things which everyone wants to do, but only a few have a clue about how to go about it. I come across such cases very frequently during my interaction with my clients. My advice to leaders is to widen their scope of communication and get in touch with those people who you otherwise don't interact. Leaders can achieve it in some ways like collaborating with them over a task or taking out time with them after office.
Another advice that I give them is to reinvent their leadership personality. Leaders can include learning by observing influential figures and stretching your boundaries beyond the comfort zone that is routine. None of these techniques is sure to work for every leader. However, either way, there is one certainty - you would emerge a stronger leader with a clear outsight.
Do you possess these shields as a leader?
There is no single recipe for sure shot success. However, with that said, it is easy to point out certain traits which found in most of the successful leaders. The top three of those are courage, humility, and discipline. The interpretation of these terms can vary widely depending upon the field of application. Let me share with you how to interpret these values when talking about a successful leader.
Leaders with courage are often successful
Courage is a highly desirable quality in any successful person. While some may interpret it as the ability to take higher risks, in the business world, it is more related to having the power to be brutally honest whether it means accepting your fault or it means point out the flaws in others. What most leaders believe to be an aura surrounding them is an invisible wall that they create around themselves which stops anyone from giving them accurate feedback. For such leaders, no feedback means that everything is perfect, which is never the case! Genuine courage of a leader lies in listening to the feedback about this work and then making efforts to bring in the changes.
Leaders never lose humility
It is easy to forget humility once you reach an absolute position. The satisfaction of accomplishing your professional goal can often lead to a feeling of contentment and arrogance. It has the potential to become the single biggest reason for your downfall. As a leader, losing your humility is the worst things that you can do to yourself. Unless you are humble enough, you would never accept that you need to evolve with time and this would saturate your career in no time. Until the time you want to keep on improving, you need to keep your humility intact.
Discipline - A real leader's virtue
There are no substitutes to discipline. Though discipline is annoying at times, this is what makes you dependable in the eyes of others. Following up on the feedback given or received, following the predetermined method of doing things are some of the ways of inculcating discipline in your routine. As a leader, there are always several pairs of eyes on you and your actions. A well-disciplined role model is what you must be to gain the respect of your team members.
So the next time you are thinking about going on a leadership resurgence journey with your executive coach, do not plan it as a hush-hush process. Instead, involve all the stakeholders to let them know that you are making efforts to evolve into a much better version of yourself.
People often ask, "Can executives change their behaviour?" The answer is definitely yes. Coaching is all about helping successful Leaders to get better by bringing change in their behaviour.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)