Leadership Effectiveness: Courage to Look in The Mirror

Leadership Effectiveness: Courage to Look in The MirrorAs we rebuild and reopen, we need to identify what it means to be successful under the new normal—and we need to be inspiring, credible leaders to help our stakeholders heal. Rebuilding, reopening, and healing will require courage, honesty, adherence to values, humility to listen to others, and unity of purpose. And all of this will require leaders to have clear-eyed self-awareness…and that, in and of itself, takes courage.

A leader cannot be an inspiring leader without credibility. Credible leadership requires leaders to understand – consistently, constantly, and with intention – how they can create and inspire the environment where all stakeholders can thrive. Leaders earn credibility by being authentic, transparent, courageous, forthright, and creative in conversations with all stakeholders. This is never easy.

Leaders need to look at their own leadership humbly, courageously, and honestly, and determine what they should keep doing, stop doing, and start doing as leaders of people and of organizations. Then, they need the discipline to actually act on what they learn, and the emotional intelligence to do it well.

Self-awareness means that leaders recognize their own influence on shaping the future. The leader-influencer must be able to walk the talk, clarify values, create an inspired vision, and comprehend their impact on stakeholders. This type of leadership is what will guide success in the future and define leadership effectiveness.

Understanding your impact as a leader is a pivot you must be able to undertake to be effective. Not that this is new – it has just reached a new level of urgency. Self-awareness – particularly recognizing one’s impact on others – and the desire to influence in a positive way are critical now. Leaders need to evolve toward the “leader of the future” – see below.

High Impact, High Commitment Leader of the Future

For an example of courageous, honest leadership at this time, see the email Tim Cook sent out to the Apple organization. Mark Zuckerberg took a different approach, and several of his senior staffers were quick to react – see Facebook employees revolt over Zuckerberg’s hands-off approach to Trump.

We strongly suggest that you, reader, build your self-awareness of your leadership in this crisis by asking for feedback (now) from your stakeholders. Be clear about what you are asking, “How can I be more effective at creating the environment for you to thrive?” “What can I do to make a more significant difference in the community?” “What should I stop doing / do more of / start doing?” The questions should be clearly aimed at what you can control.

This effort does not need to be elaborate; keep it simple.

Why do this now? This may be the last thing you want to do. “I am as self-aware as I need to be.” “I don’t have time; my people don’t have time.” “I don’t want to change” and so on …

Let me tell you why – using some Peter Drucker wisdom: “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.”

How can I know what specific things my team believes I do well, should start doing, stop doing, and continue doing? How can I be more effective at creating the environment where my behavior is aligned with the corporate mission and values? Am I holding my team accountable for courageous, humble, self-aware leadership?

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