In tough economic times, Strategists set priorities and make sure that the organization allocates the right attention to the right things. Rule 2: Make things happen. They understand how to make change happen, assign accountability, make key decisions and delegate them to others, and ensure that teams work well together.
Executors also put the systems in place for others to make change happen. In tough economic times, these leaders focus even more on getting things done.
They reduce risks by making decisions quickly and aggressively. Talent Managers identify what skills are required, draw talent to their organizations, engage them, communicate extensively and ensure that employees turn in their best efforts. These leaders generate intense personal, professional and organizational loyalty.
In tough economic times, Talent Managers make hard people choices.
The Leader's Code by Donovan Campbell | Penguin Random House Canada
They use economic demands as a license to remove poor performers, demand productivity, and to focus their communications to remaining employees. Rule 4: Build the next generation. Just as good parents invest in helping their children succeed, Human Capital Developers help future leaders be successful. These leaders build a workforce plan that focuses on future talent while understanding how to develop that talent. They also help employees envision their future within the company.
While hard economic times may tempt leaders to delay investing in the future, Human Capital Developers seize the opportunity to secure new talent who was previously out of reach. Rule 5: Invest in yourself. At the heart of the Leadership Code — literally and figuratively — is Personal Proficiency. Effective leaders cannot be reduced to what they know and do. Who they are as human beings has everything to do with how much they can accomplish with and through other people.
Leaders are voracious learners. They learn from success, failure, assignments, books, classes, people, and life itself. Passionate about their beliefs and interests, they expend an enormous personal energy and attention on whatever matters to them. Effective leaders inspire loyalty and good will in others because they themselves act with integrity and trust. In tough economic times, these leaders are calm in crisis, confident in uncertainty, and grounded in fundamental principles and values, rather than relying on quick fixes.
The business world prizes good self-presentation. Employees think a lot about how to make the right impression—how to frame their arguments in discussions with bosses, get their points across in meetings, persuade or coerce their reports to do what they want. Many also spend serious money on speaking coaches, media trainers, and the like.
This is understandable, given the competitive nature of our workplaces, but it has a cost. That tendency only gets worse as we climb the corporate ladder. When we really listen, on the other hand, our egos and our self-involvement subside, giving everybody the space to understand the situation—and one another—and to focus on the mission. Listening can be improved by these practices:. This is one of the behaviors encouraged at the animation studio Pixar.
In another exercise, two coaches act out conversations to illustrate the difference between active listening and not really listening. But that was not its only problem. Several times throughout the course participants engage in self-checks, in which they critique their own tendencies.
The Leader's Code
The self-checks are reinforced by another exercise in which people pair up for multiple rounds of role-playing intended to help participants experience not being heard. One employee is told to describe an issue at work to the other. Employees play both roles in each round. At the end they discuss what that kind of listening can accomplish and how one feels when truly listened to. In another exercise at Webasto, people sit in on a conversation simply to listen. After taking the Listen Like a Leader class, employees have reported better interactions with their colleagues.
Think about the last time you were in a conflict with a colleague.
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Chances are, you started feeling that the other person was either uncaring or not very bright, my research suggests. Being receptive to the views of someone we disagree with is no easy task, but when we approach the situation with a desire to understand our differences, we get a better outcome. In successful collaborations, each person assumes that everyone else involved, regardless of background or title, is smart, caring, and fully invested.
That mindset makes participants want to understand why others have differing views, which allows them to have constructive conversations. Judgment gives way to curiosity, and people come to see that other perspectives are as valuable as theirs. A couple of approaches can help here. Then their teammates ask questions but are instructed not to use them as a means of touting their own ideas.
With this approach, ideas get full attention and consideration. An advertising and publicity firm I studied uses a similar approach but also trains participants to pay attention to what people are not saying. What are some of the strengths and weaknesses you see in it? Showing empathy also makes others more likely to ask you for your point of view. Collaboration proceeds more smoothly. While listening and empathizing allow others more space in a collaboration, you also need the courage to have tough conversations and offer your views frankly.
The next three techniques focus on getting people there. Good collaboration involves giving and receiving feedback well—and from a position of influence rather than one of authority. The following methods can help. Coaches first explain that aversion to feedback is common. As givers of it, we want to avoid hurting others. Even when we know our feedback can be helpful, my research has found, we choose not to provide it.
As recipients, we feel tension between the desire to improve and the desire to be accepted for who we are. The ensuing open discussion of reservations and challenges around feedback helps participants feel less alone. Next they practice delivering that feedback to a classmate and reflect on the experience. In another exercise they do the same with critical feedback. Recipients are asked to talk about their experience getting the feedback.
In this exercise a volunteer reads a piece of feedback that he or she has drafted to the group. The other participants are then asked to identify ways to improve it. This practice is important because even when we overcome our aversion to giving feedback, we tend not to be specific or direct.
Pixar employees told me that this approach draws on three principles of improv comedy: First, accept all offers—that is, embrace the idea instead of rejecting it. For this reason, coaches there attend brainstorming meetings to reinforce good approaches and point out lapses.
Live coaching can be difficult—people are sometimes visibly annoyed by the interruptions—but coaches have learned to pay attention to the personalities in the room and adapt accordingly. But they come to realize that feedback is a gift and is key to their personal development. A lot of attention is paid, in the literature and in the practice of management, to what makes a truly effective leader. There has been much less consideration of how to follow, though that, too, is an important skill. During the day campaign to find and rescue a group of boys and their soccer coach from a rapidly flooding cave in Thailand in , more and more people arrived on the scene to help: hydraulic engineers, geologists, divers, SEAL teams, NASA experts, doctors, and local politicians.