10 ESSENTIAL SKILLS EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP PROGRAM
The Key to Customer Service
The term servant leadership represents a timeless concept. Talked about in the bible and many other historical documents. But it was Robert Greenleaf who brought global attention to the idea in 1970 with the publication of his essay entitled “The Servant as Leader.”
- Servant leadership is both a leadership philosophy and set of leadership practices. Traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid.” By comparison, the servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible. Servant leadership turns the power pyramid upside down; instead of the people working to serve the leader, the leader exists to serve the people. When leaders shift their mindset, and serve first, they unlock purpose and ingenuity in those around them, resulting in higher performance and engaged, fulfilled employees. A servant leader's purpose should be to inspire and equip the people they influence.
- The servant leadership philosophy and practices have been expressed in many ways and applied in many contexts. Some of the most well-known advocates of servant leadership include Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Peter Senge, M. Scott Peck, and Margaret Wheatley.
Looking in the mirror
Self-awareness or healthy self-perception is the absolute fundamental prerequisite of effective leadership. This essential skill requires leaders to learn enough about themselves to lead others. Self-perception may be different than the perception of others.
The leader must come to grips with and learn to resolve internal conflicts—dissonant internal chords. This distinctive is called “harmonious leadership,” where you are “in tune” internally. You cannot lead others until you first lead yourself through a struggle with opposing values.
Integrity of Heart
Character & Credibility
A leadership crisis marks both the marketplace and the ministry: a crisis of character and competency. Steven Covey describes it as a move from a character ethic to a personality ethic.
Character and credibility are essential components of integrity, the foundation for trust. Integrity is the number one leadership characteristic followers look for in their leaders.
People want above all else leaders of character. Leaders they can trust. Character is the foundation of leadership.
Honesty, integrity, trust, credibility; all essential characteristics that organizations cannot take for granted.
10 Essential Skills : # 1
10 Essential Skills : # 3
10 Essential Skills : # 2
Learning to juggle leadership styles
Research indicates that the biggest mistake leaders make is attempting to lead everyone the same way. This word of wisdom implies that a leader should have more than one leadership style in her/his leadership toolbox and must know how to juggle those styles. Effective leaders lead by using different styles (directing, coaching, supporting, delegating).
These four leadership styles are goal and task specific. The leader, therefore, has to be able to diagnose the developmental level of the follower- an intuitive skill set once trained. We all move through each of the developmental levels: Enthusiastic beginner, Disillusioned learner, Capable, but cautious performer, and Self-reliant achiever.
Learning this leadership model will give you and your team a new leadership vocabulary and help you partner for performance.
10 Essential Skills : # 4
Many organizations are struggling today. One major cause is that they don’t know how to deal with spiraling, complex change.
The speed of change was once defined as incremental, but today we use terms such as white-water, bullet train and light speed to describe change.
Navigating uncertainty has become an essential leadership aptitude. Research and experience indicate that change has three fundamental stages and nine components, all of which can be learned.
10 Essential Skills : # 6
Transformational leadership and the
five exemplary practices.
Transformational leadership is a style of leadership where a leader works with her / his team to identify needed change- creating a vision to guide the change through inspiration, and executing the change in tandem with committed members of a group.
In addition, much of a leader’s failure to lead is due to incongruence between what he/she says and does. So, learning to be alignment and behave rightly is important, requiring an awareness and understanding of exemplary leadership practices.
It is now known that when leaders are at their extraordinary best they are doing five things, and these five practices can be taught and thus learned.
10 Essential Skills : # 5
Water You Swim In
Vision, Mission, Values, & Culture
The question is asked, “What does a fish think about the water it swims in?” Answer: “It doesn’t.” It’s the same with organizational culture. Organizational culture is represented by the values and behaviors that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of the organization.
Skill 8 is critical to Skills 9 and 10 because if there is no clear vision (built upon shared values, mission, and purpose) the resulting misalignment of direction and motivation will make the development of leaders difficult if not impossible. A leader cannot be developed without being crystal clear on the questions—Why are we here? and Where are we going?
10 Essential Skills : # 8
Conflict Positive Environment
Conflict is a lot like water—it spills over, it flows downhill, and—if left unchecked—it erodes whatever it touches. And sometimes it’s like red wine: it stains.
It’s important to remember that several styles/modes may be used in conflict situations, but each person tends to habitually use a certain style more than others. To most effectively resolve a conflict, a leader should use the style/strategy most appropriate for the particular conflict situation. However, that strategy may not be the strategy that he/she habitually uses.
Skill 7 is, therefore, intentionally called “leading” conflict versus “managing” it because a leader must learn to understand and get ahead of conflict by creating “conflict positive environments.” This is accomplished by understanding several things about oneself and conflict itself- different styles of conflict, how to use these styles in different contexts, and managing rational and personal conflict issues.
10 Essential Skills : # 7
Developing a Bench
Teamwork has become the norm in organizational life; therefore, investing in and understanding team development has become increasingly important.
Many organizations today are complex, and so are many working teams. Virtual teams, cross-cultural teams, cross-functional teams, temporary project teams and teams that span a range of organizations are now standard. Team development planning is core to organizational development.
Teamwork skills are used to enhance understanding, communication and productivity. Developing self-awareness and shared awareness through assessment, feedback and coaching is a great start. An effective team must learn how to make giving and receiving feedback the normal way of improving cohesion and performance. They must also know how to use conflict as a positive force, while also helping team members to know when to take the lead and when to enable others to lead.
In addition, credible and competent protégés represent the leader’s legacy. Therefore, a team development plan is critical. Every leader should intentionally have people over her/him whom the leader is learning from and people under them whom she/he is intentionally mentoring.
10 Essential Skills : # 10
The Road Ahead
A Personal Development Plan
We live in a time of continual learning, growth and development. A leader must know where to go. What does she/he see in a year, five years —and perhaps ten years down the road? Is she/he pursing certain hopes and dreams? If so, but the leader isn’t sure which way to go, perhaps a personal development plan will help figure that out, and help to get there.
Today’s environment stresses continual life-long learning. Personal growth and development is therefore a process. Deliberately designing and implementing a personal development plan is fundamentally important to present and future success. Winston Churchill said, “He who fails to plan is planning to fail.”