Business schools may teach based on definitions of leadership that are rooted in static, idealised archetypes from yonder-year. But it is the ability to energise people that is the prerequisite of successful leadership today. If you can unleash the full potential of your employees, they will innovate, create and grow your business in ways you couldn’t have foreseen.
So how do you enable that? Here are six ways to lead today that they certainly don’t teach in business school.
1. Focus within
A more individualised sense of leadership, allows leaders to bring out their own best and help others do the same. It’s an enabler to sustaining performance, delivering frequent, energy-giving moments of achievement. It won’t be easy but invest in finding and addressing your own unique areas of weaknesses.
2. Align everyone realistically
Recommendations to develop a clear vision are nothing new. But what makes them effective is identifying how people can buy-in to that vision in their daily work in a meaningful way. This stops the vision being an abstract concept and enables people to really get to grips with what it means for them.
3. Set context with no fear of boring people
People making up their own narratives if not provided with frequent, effective communication. Make sure everyone knows exactly why you’re making requests of them. Communicate time and again so everyone understands the journey. And if circumstances change, quickly and honestly communicate what it means for everyone and what happens next.
4. Manage conflict calmly
Although everyone need to be aligned on direction of travel that doesn’t mean you all have to agree on how to get there. Conflict is normal and healthy and as a dynamic leader you need to know how to manage that: strike a balance between debate and decisiveness.
5. Allow irreverence
To be creative and develop the ideas you need to succeed as a business, people need to feel comfortable to challenge what they perceive to be wrong or in need of improvement. Create an environment that welcomes questions and rewards ideas.
6. Kill sacred cows
Don’t consciously or subconsciously cling to ways of thinking and acting that have worked in the past. Instead, take risks and know that new things can and will stutter and fail, so embrace the whole process not just success.
At the heart of becoming a dynamic leader is this one key tenet: prioritising nurturing and developing the quality of your engagement and conversations with your people above all else. In doing so, you will become increasingly adept at managing complexity and unleashing the potential of your people.