Successful leaders have a vision and are able to convey this to others. Employees become enthusiastic about this vision and want to work on its realisation. This creates in a natural manner a movement which transforms the vision into deeds. In this way, the leader does not have to do all the work: people will start working with him or her.
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Leadership development: the character of the leader is crucial here. Research shows, for example, that managers who lack integrity, a sense of responsibility and compassion achieve a far lower growth in operating results. What does it take to become a good leader? Were you born this way or is it something you can learn? It will perhaps come as no surprise to hear that we think you can be trained and coached in leadership. Under our supervision, we have seen leaders develop as individuals, achieving a better personal performance and results.
Become a better manager: develop self-awareness and leadership
The tool you use as a leader/manager is yourself! Obviously, you need your specialist knowledge and skills, but it is also essential that you have a measure of self-reflection and that you train your mental strength and personal resilience. Another condition of good leadership is that you engage with what you really find important; in other words, with your values. This engagement is not self-evident. Thoughts race through our minds all day long, but it is debatable whether they are about the things that are important to you. This plays a key part in leadership development and leads the way to the right approach!
Improved operating results due to character of the leader
Fred Kiel is a consultant and psychologist and fascinated by the influence of a leader’s character on his method of leadership and operating results. He carried out research into this over a period of seven years. Of course, he expected character to have an effect, but he was still surprised that it appeared to be so great. Kiel defines character in terms of four universal moral principles, such as responsibility and compassion. Two principles originate from the mind and two from the heart. Leaders who achieved a high score on four moral principles – the virtuoso leaders – realised an average growth of 9.4 % over a period of two years. Leaders who scored lower on these principles, the ‘self-focused leaders’, achieved an efficiency of only 1.9%. On top of this, employee engagement in companies with a leader of good character appeared to be 26% higher.
As a leader don’t wear a mask
Just imagine meeting someone who is literally wearing a mask. In a best-case scenario, you’ll be at a fancy dress party… If a person puts on a mask in a figurative sense, you don’t know who you have in front of you and this can make you feel uncomfortable. And yet there are many managers who, consciously or not, choose to wear a mask so that they don’t fully show their strength or their vulnerability. They choose to conceal certain aspects of themselves. They lack the ability to connect.
Google research shows that employees develop their skills and perform best in a psychologically safe environment. Trusting the leader and having his trust is essential to this. People need to feel that they are part of the bigger picture. This provides an important sense of togetherness.
Do you want to become a good leader? Then you need to have the courage to take off your mask. First of all, look inside yourself. You need to know what your talents are and you need to acknowledge your darker sides and work on them. Do what you’re good at and stay true to your character. This is what is needed to forge a real connection with your innermost self. And from this deep connection with yourself you will be able to connect with others.
Are you, as a leader, able to show your strength and vulnerability? If you are, then you will also open the way for people to show their strengths and vulnerabilities.
Did you know all our trainers and consultants have held managerial positions? Fro their own experience, they recognise the tendency to wear a mask now and then. Would you like to hear from them how they managed to overcome this -and how they could help you?
Leadership development: how to convince others to share your vision
A characteristic of successful leaders is that they have a vision and can convey this to others. They do this in such a powerful way that others start believing in the vision and want to work together to achieve it.
A few important points:
- Believe in your vision: at this point, you don’t need to know how you are going to fulfil it. It starts by articulating your vision and convincing others.
- Make your vision tangible: incorporate personal examples in your story and connect them to your key message. By showing yourself and your vulnerability, you create connectivity and trust.
- Draw the ideal picture: people want to see what their world will look like if your vision is fulfilled. Draw this ideal picture instead of simply criticising the current (undesirable) situation.
Talk to one of our coaches. Stretch the limits of your imagination about what it’s like to be a leader. What is your vision? Take the next step on the road to real leadership.
A new leadership trend: sleeping well as a manager
The idea seems to prevail, at boardroom level in particular, that sleep is something for weaklings. Anyone who calls himself a highly professional manager or director prides himself on working many more hours over and above a 40-hour week. This often comes at the expense of a good night’s sleep. Cool? No! You shouldn’t underestimate the consequences of a lack of sleep.
For example, a significant consequence of this is emotional overstimulation. Research by the Harvard Medical School shows that a lack of sleep makes the emotional centres of your brain up to 60% more reactive. You react in an uncontrolled manner.
But just leave aside your own performance for a moment. Are you going to be full of pride if junior leaders around you start following your example? Or if your children one day say: my father was very important. He worked himself to death.
Working yourself to death is fortunately mainly an expression in our country. In Japan, it’s the hard reality. The phenomenon there even has an official name: karoshi. The culture of hard work in Japan, with working weeks of up to 110 hours, is responsible for a wave of heart attacks, strokes and suicides. This also falls within leadership development!
Are you really indispensable?
Long days and short nights arise from the notion of indispensability. Obviously, in the case of a crisis, you can’t say at 5 pm ‘Bye-bye everyone, I’m finished for the day’. But if there is a crisis a hundred days per year, then something is wrong. In this case, you need to think about how the business has been set up.
How good a leader are you if you always think you are indispensable? That everything depends on your presence?
Keep out of the drama triangle
A good leadership skill involves understanding the dynamics of social networking. And realising what dynamics we need to avoid if we want to be productive as a team.
The drama triangle is an example of unproductive dynamics. People take on the following dramatic roles in such a triangle – even though they may not even be conscious of this:
- The rescuer, who likes to think of himself as important and to show how good he or she is. Who constantly interferes with others, making them dependent.
- The persecutor, who is not to blame and is not responsible. Who strongly believes that he or she is better than the rest and prefers to keep others at a distance.
- The victim, who doesn’t have to think or choose for himself. Who is looked after by the others and therefore does not need to carry any responsibility for his own behaviour.
The problem with the drama triangle is that everyone puts the blame on someone else but, in the end, nobody benefits.
What should you do as leader?
- As a leader you don’t need to rescue people. The need to rescue arises from the lack of confidence in the other person’s ability to cope. Instead of this, it would be better to coach them, so that you can strengthen the control the other person has over himself. A leader who coaches doesn’t solve the employee’s problem, but asks the right questions to help the employee to decide for himself.
- What should you do about the persecutor? As a leader, you choose the easy way if you judge or persecute people. It would be more helpful and more inspiring to challenge people to discover their own goals, obviously derived from the goals of the organisation.
- The victim? As leader, create a vision, a goal to pursue. Then challenge your employees to think creatively about how the goals are going to be achieved. Victims always have an excuse for why something has gone wrong. If the direction and goals of the leader are clear, there will be little room for victim behaviour.