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DIRECTIONAL LEADERSHIP

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Leaders should not think they are the only ones worthy of creating and knowing corporate visions. All employees need to know their companies’ visions and how their work contributes to them. When visions are established, leaders need to build consensus. The aim must be for employees to come to work to pursue visions, not just to perform the functions of their jobs. The four challenges applying to Directional Leadership and action items related to the four challenges include:

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 5.28.41 pmChallenge One: Recruit support from the top 29 percent.

*Identify the top 29 percent.

*Bring the top 29 percent together as a group.

*Solicit input from the top 29 percent into the vision.

*Ask the top 29 percent to recruit the other 54 percent.

Challenge Two: Prepare the organization for change.

*Agree on unity within the leadership team. For success, all members of the team must be on the same page.

*Give the reason for the change.

*Tell employees how the change will affect them.

*Use data to tell the story — numbers and facts can be very powerful.

*Introduce the change as an improvement.

*Celebrate the past and the future.

Challenge Three: Let them know how they contribute.

*Assess how well expectations have been communicated.

*Let employees create the expectations through goal setting.

*Assess how well consequences have been communicated.

*Determine positive consequences that would drive behavior.

*Ensure the consequences motivate the behavior.

Challenge Four: Constantly communicate progress.

*Create a method to share information regularly.

*Let employees know where they stand.

*Host a quarterly vision review meeting.

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Feedback

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Feedback is likely the most powerful tool leaders have for achieving engagement and performance improvement. Feedback can be defined as having an open and honest two-way conversation about performance that focuses on specifics and clearly defines desired future behaviors.

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 5.44.10 pmThe most critical element of the feedback process is the opening feedback statement — the first one or two sentences spoken by the person giving the feedback. These sentences set the tone of the conversation and influence the emotional and behavioral responses of the recipient. They should be descriptive and not judgmental. They should comment on behavior, not personality; be specific, rather than general; and avoid all-or-nothing words, such as “always” and “never.”They should focus on the effect of the behavior rather than the behavior or trait that may have caused it. They should be timely, and they should be upbeat in emphasizing that change is possible.

There are two general types of feedback:

  1. Reinforcing feedback provides recognition for positive patterns of behavior regularly demonstrated by the employee. It also seeks to encourage new positive behaviors that are not typical of the employee.
  2. Redirecting feedback seeks to change or redirect an undesired behavior the employee has shown.

For reinforcing feedback, leaders should open with a clear descriptive feedback statement that lets the employee know exactly what behavior is being valued. They should be sure to state the positive effect the behavior has, or will have, on the organization and should not assume the employee already knows this. Providing reinforcing feedback requires leaders to be confident enough in themselves that they can openly praise others.

Redirecting feedback can be more difficult to give. It can be challenging, for example, to keep the employee from deflecting the feedback, blaming others, or justifying the behavior. To make redirecting feedback more effective, leaders must:

* Open with a clear descriptive feedback statement.

* Ask why the person acted in the way he or she did rather than assuming why.

* State the effect the behavior has had on the organization and provide personal reactions to it.

* Collaboratively seek a solution, perhaps by asking how the situation might be rectified or done differently.

* Jointly develop an action plan for the solution.

* Agree on a follow-up procedure or meeting.

* Encourage the employee.

Listening : key for leader

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The most important skill for any leader to have is the ability to Prism Full Form1communicate effectively. This means clearly articulating a vision, connecting with people in a way that promotes understanding, and listening to really hear what people have to say. Six obstacles limit effective communication:

  1. Moving too fast, which can happen due to overreliance on email and texting.
  2. Listening too little.
  3. Failing to show respect for others.
  4. Making assumptions about what others know or understand.
  5. Ignoring the importance of nonverbal communication.
  6. Not checking for understanding.

A key aspect of effective communications is asking the right questions at the right time. There are two kinds of questions:

  1. Closed questions: Questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.”These questions convey minimal information.
  2. Open questions: Questions that begin with journalists’ words: who, what, when, where, and why. Open questions produce more information and can be followed by phrases such as “tell me more,” to solicit more information.

The Johari Window, a communications model developed by Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham, stresses the two-way nature of communication. Exposure, on the vertical axis of the window, is the measure of how well communicators let others know what is going on in their minds. Feedback, on the horizontal axis, measures how well communicators are receiving and understanding what is going on in the other party’s head.

There are 10 approaches that can help leaders increase the amount and effectiveness of their exposure. Leaders must:

  1. Be sure their specific concerns are clear by describing specific situations and how they reacted.
  2. Never assume they know what others are thinking or feeling.
  3. Be careful not to convey a judgment — positive or negative — of other people’s characters.
  4. Give concrete examples of what they mean.
  5. Give information rather than advice.
  6. Tailor their conversations to the receivers’ needs.
  7. Check for understanding.
  8. Avoid overloading receivers with information beyond what they can handle and use.
  9. Be level with receivers without “leveling” them.
  10. Maintain their sense of humor and be willing to laugh at themselves.

Listening is a very important part of effective communication. People engage in four types of listening:

  1. Physical listening: The listener is bodily present, but not really paying much attention to what is going on.
  2. Tape listening: The listener is not really interested in what the other person is saying, but is just attentive enough to be able to repeat back word for word what has been said if asked.
  3. Judgmental listening: The listener is developing a rebuttal rather than seeking to understand what the other person is saying.
  4. Active listening: The listener is 100 percent present, with a goal of understanding and not necessarily agreeing.

Active listening is the preferred listening style. One tool to help achieve this is paraphrasing, or repeating what the other party has said in an accurate and neutral summary. The second is reflection, or acknowledging the feelings or emotions the other party has conveyed. In both paraphrasing and reflection, it is important for people not to sound condescending or to give the impression that a technique is being employed.

HOLD PEOPLE ACCOUNTABLE

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IMG_6678Accountability goes hand in hand with authority and responsibility. Holding people accountable for their performance sounds intimidating to most, but it is actually very beneficial for workers. Like most policies, accountability must begin at the top. If CEOs do not hold themselves accountable, they cannot reasonably expect the same of others. Leaders make a habit of setting personal performance goals and sticking to them. The next step is to then promote the same level of accountability across the entire organization. Once these rules are established, they must be enforced. This can be the most unpleasant part of a leader’s job. It does not mean, however, that leaders cannot help employees by way of providing tools and resources for success. Additionally, employees can and should be rewarded when they perform as expected. This will build a culture based on excellence, quality, and supportiveness.

BUILD LOYALTY AND ENGAGEMENT FROM THE MIDDLE

It is not easy to inspire cultural change in managers and have them go on to inspire others. The best way to effect change is to give managers a broader sense of the organization, beyond their own individual departments or teams. After this, it is important to give managers the power to make a difference. This helps to ensure that they are properly aligned with the culture and strategies of senior leadership. Managers should be encouraged to get to know their staff as people, and to develop personal bonds with them. In this way, a team can develop a shared goal. This trust and openness will inevitably go back up the organizational chain to its leaders, who will find they are in charge of an organization with a strong sense of purpose.

BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER

One of the best ways to mend gaps in an organization is through the sharing of information. When employees know what is happening in the boardroom, misunderstanding and misinterpretation are reduced. Communication also brings people together because employees get to express their own points of view more clearly. This decentralized structure is sometimes referred to as horizontal management. Among its benefits, horizontal management can help hold managers accountable. However, leaders need to be mindful that over-decentralization can lead to gaps in communication, and various parts of an organization will develop their own ways of doing things. This can be combated with smart integration of disparate systems and standardization of company-wide operations.

Another proactive way to bring people together is to have experts from different areas of an organization collaborate to develop new best practices that keep different perspective in mind and can be adopted throughout the organization. This technique can bring about great innovations in efficiency and cost reduction. These sorts of initiatives take time and should be approached incrementally. Early successes will build momentum and prove to any potential skeptics that the system is working.

KNOW YOUR PEOPLE – New Leaders

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Effective leaders do not keep their distance from the people they are meant to lead. Making connections with people is the most crucial aspect of leadership. 29496953_498482940546099_3793124209420405687_nThe greatest leaders in the world have gone out of the way to make regular, meaningful connections with their people. However, most managers do not go to this extent. Instead, many make cursory attempts at connection once in a while. Instead of making connections, the would-be managers only highlight how often they are not present. This is not real leadership. Leadership involves taking time to observe employees on the job and gaining some perspective about them and the company as a whole. It takes a special effort to develop these relationships with the front line, but they are valuable and fulfilling.

Spending time with employees is a necessary component of leadership and has a real impact on the performance of a business and its culture. Sharing information with employees inspires loyalty, which in turn leads to less turnaround. Similarly, it is important to be open and accessible to employees at every level of an organization. Employees should take the opportunity to get to know their leaders, just as leaders should make the effort to know more about employees. It can be a lot of work making meaningful connections with the front line, especially in large organizations, but the benefits far outweigh the sacrifices.

BREAKING DOWN THE DOORS

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When attempting to “break down doors,” Baldoni recommends building confidence and leveraging it to accomplish good and effect change. Baldoni lists seven angles from which leaders can approach advocacy. Some managers may choose to focus on more than one:

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Six Sigma Certification program

  1. Information — Disseminating data
  2. Charisma — Appeal
  3. Participation — Engaging others
  4. Compromise — Bringing together diverging viewpoints
  5. Reason — The tool of logic
  6. Emotional appeal — Appealing to the heart
  7. Coercion — Application of force

He then delves deeper, outlining the nature of relationships within organizations, the best ways to relate to people, and most important, how to get things done:

*The View from the Middle. Middle managers must be on top of what is happening in their organizations, both above and below them.

*The View Looking Up. In communicating with senior management, managers must be solid in their knowledge of the facts, prepare their pitches well, and build supportive coalitions. They should persist, even if their ideas are initially rejected.

*Relate to People as People. Before asking people to support a point of view, it is crucial to connect with them. This may mean empathizing with alternative viewpoints and even networking with those on the “other side of the aisle.”

*Present Your Ideas. Telling a story about the benefits of a product or idea can help listeners connect. Equally important is presenting with enthusiasm.

*Respect One Another. Managers and employees need to show respect by listening to each other.

*Influence Across Borders. As organizations become leaner and more linear, it is necessary for leaders, particularly in the middle, to exert influence beyond their own departments. They should make themselves available to help in times of change, encourage others with stories of success, and even as they exert influence, remain humble.

*Make Your Case. Baldoni presents a series of action steps but cautions leaders to recognize when it is prudent to repeat steps or change the order. The steps include: taking the temperature of the organization, identifying both supporters and detractors, arguing for the value of propositions, making the business case for propositions, anticipating obstacles and then revising, engaging on an emotional level, and making people feel like they can benefit from a proposal.

*Deal with the Limits of Influence. Sometimes senior managers will dismiss an idea. The challenge for influencers is to persevere.

*Advocate. Advocacy means standing up for what a person believes in. To be the best advocate possible, leaders should provide information about the issues at hand, teach their teams how to articulate them, and prepare their teams for potential adversity.

*Stick to Your Knitting. One note of caution — leaders need to be careful about asking their people to become advocates. They should make sure that people advocating truly believe in the cause, and it is best to limit the number of people involved.

All of these strategies boil down to the fact that a team requires a leader who is not afraid to try new things to achieve great results.

PINNACLE : ELEMENT OF LEADER

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THE PINNACLE

Most leaders who reach the pinnacle do so later in their careers; however, this level is not a resting place for leaders to stop and view their successes. Instead, it is a reproducing place from which they can make the greatest impact of their lives. Level 5 leaders, or pinnacle leaders, strive to lift up as many leaders as they can, tackle as many great challenges as possible, and extend their influences beyond their own organizations and industries.

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 5.28.41 pmGeneral Electric is often cited as a top-ten organization for leaders. For many years it was led by Jack Welch, a Level 5 leader, who emphasized developing other leaders to become Level 4 leaders — or leaders who produce other leaders. Level 5 leaders like Welch can cross lines out of their areas of expertise to speak with authority. People respect them for who they are and what they represent. They often advance the cause of leadership, redefine it, and pour themselves into the next generation of leaders.

The Downside of the Pinnacle

One of the greatest dangers for pinnacle leaders is thinking they have “arrived.” No matter how good they have been in the past, they still need to strategize, weigh decisions, plan, and execute at a very high level. Their leadership momentum can overcome many problems, but even momentum cannot continually compensate for arrogance or stupidity. Level 5 leaders must not treat their organizations as their personal properties. Leaders cannot make decisions with only their personal interests in mind.

When people excel to a high level, a certain mythology grows up around them. They become larger than life in other people’s minds. However, a Level 5 leader must never forget that he started at the bottom as a positional leader. If he becomes successful, it is only because many other people helped along the way.

Best Behaviors on Level 5

Level 5 leaders make room at the top for other leaders. This creates a cycle of positive change in an organization by increasing its size and power. Level 5 leaders also aggressively give power away to other leaders. This comes from their ability to see people not as they are or as others see them, but as they could be. If there are potential leaders in the organization, Level 5 leaders must dedicate time and effort to mentoring them. The best potential leaders will not remain in the organization unless they are helped to climb up to the next level.

True leaders put their egos aside and strive to create successors who go beyond them. They plan to hand off the baton when they are still running at their peak. Leaders must not hurt their organizations’ momentum by staying too long just for their own personal gratification.

Pinnacle leaders are respected outside of their organizations and industries and have reputations that offer high degrees of credibility. The key is leveraging their abilities for the benefit of others outside their direct spheres of influence.

PEOPLE DEVELOPMENT

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PEOPLE DEVELOPMENT : denoted as Level 4 leaders, they invest time, energy, money, and thought into growing others as leaders. This practice of identifying and developing people accentuates the positives of the organization. Bringing out the best in a person is often a catalyst for bringing out the best in the team.

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 5.34.53 pmPeople development is transformative. It invites people into the process of leadership. When new leaders are developed, they become better at what they do and they help everyone who works with them do the same. With the addition of more great leaders, an organization’s efforts improve. Growing the leadership of the organization gives it the ability to expand territory and take on new initiatives.

The Downside of People Development

To lead at Level 4, leaders must focus 80 percent of their attention on others and help them to grow, learn, and achieve. If their focus remains on themselves and what they want, then other people become an obstacle.

Leaders can tell if their egos are obstructing their ability to move to Level 4 simply by observing what happens during their team meetings:

*Do team members freely share their thoughts and ideas?

*If the leader contributes ideas, does the discussion move from his idea to the best idea — and is he happy about it?

*When the team succeeds, do other team members get the majority of the credit?

*Is there a shared sense of pride in the work that is being done?

*When things go wrong, does the leader personally accept the greatest share of the blame?

People development requires patience and big-picture thinking. Helping another person become a competent leader almost always takes longer than expected and is more difficult than anticipated, but the Level 4 leader does it anyway. Otherwise he limits the potential for himself, his people, and his organization.

Best Behaviors on Level 4

To develop people and help them become good leaders, their capacities can be assessed in these areas:

*Stress management: The ability to withstand and overcome pressure, failure, deadlines, and obstacles.

*Skill: The ability to complete specific tasks.

*Thinking: The ability to be creative, develop strategy, solve problems, and adapt.

*Leadership: The ability to gather followers and build a team.

*Attitude: The ability to remain positive and tenacious amidst negative circumstances.

In order to equip others to succeed, Level 4 leaders must follow a five step process:

*Step 1: I do it (competence)

*Step 2: I do it and you are with me (demonstration)

*Step 3: You do it and I am with you (coaching)

*Step 4: You do it (empowerment)

*Step 5: You do it and someone is with you (reproduction)

To create a leadership development culture that cultivates Level 5 leaders, current leaders must:

*Champion leadership: Define and model good leadership.

*Teach leadership: Train leaders on a regular, frequent, and consistent basis.

*Practice leadership: Help emerging leaders to plan and execute.

*Coach leadership: Review new leaders’ performances and correct their errors.

*Reward leadership: Reward good leadership withfair pay, resources, and recognition.

Production: Another aspect of Leadership

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The production level 3 of leadership communicates the vision of the organization through action. Level 3 leaders help people see what productivity looks like. This encourages team members and validates their efforts. Productivity also helps people recognize that they can actually accomplish more than they believed was possible.

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 5.43.54 pmThe Downside of Production

Many leaders who reach Level 3 tire of leading because of the weight of responsibility they feel. Level 3 leaders also must make the difficult decisions to:

*Be successful before trying to help others be successful.

*Hold themselves to higher standards than they ask of others.

*Make themselves accountable to others.

*Set tangible goals and then reach them.

*Accept responsibility for personal results.

*Admit failures and mistakes quickly and humbly.

*Remove themselves from situations where they are ineffective.

Best Behaviors on Level 3

Vision casting is an integral part of Level 3 leading. Productive leaders must create a clear link between the visions of their organizations and their teams’ daily production. They must show how the short term impacts the long term. Level 3 leaders employ the five Laws of Teamwork:

1. The Law of Significance: One is too small a number to achieve greatness.

2. The Law of Mount Everest: As the challenge escalates, the need for teamwork elevates.

3. The Law of the Catalyst: Winning teams have players who make things happen.

4. The Law of the Bench: Great teams have great depth.

5. The Law of Dividends: Investing in the team compounds over time.

People want to succeed. If they are not succeeding, they want to know what adjustments they need to make in order to succeed. Most people are willing to change if they are convinced that changing will help them win. Productive leaders take responsibility for guiding team members through this process.

Leaders who reach Level 3 always experience success, but not all of them capitalize on that success and move on to the next level. To do that, they must remain focused and productive — all while cultivating and preserving positive relationships.

Guide to Growing through Level 3

In order for Level 3 leaders to move onto Level 4, they must:

*Think about things that help others become better, both individually and as a team. They can do this by turning the focus outward from their own production and helping others become high producers.

*Define each team member’s area of contribution and figure out how they all work together to make the team most effective.

*Meet with the team daily (or at least weekly) to give feedback on performance. They must praise people’s efforts, help them learn from their failures, and reward their successes.

*Find challenges for people to win together as a team. The greater the number of wins, the more they can increase the difficulty of the challenges.

*Know who is who on the team, including:

*Momentum Makers: Producers who make things happen).

*Momentum Takers: People who go along for the ride.

*Momentum Breakers: People who cause problems and hurt moral).

*Be responsible for making the decisions and initiating the changes needed for the team to succeed. This can be done by setting aside an hour a day to think of five new ways to change things for the better.

PERMISSION: Way toward Leadership

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When leaders learn to function on the permission level, they do more than merely comply with orders. They follow because they want to. Building relationships develops a foundation for effectively leading others. People connect across the lines between their job descriptions and departments. Moving up to Level 2 is where followers give their supervisors permission to lead them.

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 5.34.53 pmThe Upside of Permission

Level 2 leaders shift their focus from “me” to “we.” They develop relationships and win people over with interaction, not the power of their positions. Good relationships create energy and give interactions a positive tone. On the permission level, leaders listen to their people and their people listen to them in return.

A Level 2 leader’s goal is to become aware of the uniqueness of people and appreciate their differences. He does this by letting them know that they matter and that they are seen as individual human beings, not merely employees. Trust is the foundation of permissional leadership. The more trust a leader develops, the stronger his relationships become.

The Downside of Permission

Leading by permission may appear “soft” to some people since caring for others can be seen as “weak,” especially by leaders with a natural bias toward action. Those who start on the hard side and refuse to learn softer skills often get stuck at Level 1.

The most common reason for leaders to not move up to Level 3 is that they become so relational that they lose sight of the primary goal of leadership: helping others work together, move forward, and achieve more. When leaders are relational, their followers sometimes mistake kindness for weakness. They believe that encouragement means they do not have to respect boundaries, and they assume that empowerment means they have the freedom to do what they want.

Leaders will not get ahead with others unless they are willing to:

*Choose to care about others.

*Look for something likeable about every person they meet.

*Discover what is likeable about themselves and do whatever is possible to share that with the people around them.

*Make the effort every day to express what they like about the other people in their lives.