Archive | August 2014

Leadership complexity

It all hangs on leadership

It all hangs on leadership

An amazing analogy of effective leadership is demonstrated in the Good to Great(Collins et al). It’s key to note that leadership is not about warm and fuzzy. In fact, it’s about strength of character in being able to stand for something while being able to guard yourself against arrogance that could be created by that same conviction.

According to Collins et al, there are five attributes that typify a true Leader:
They are self-confident enough to set up their successors for success.
They are humble and modest.
They have “unwavering resolve.”
They display a “workmanlike diligence – more plow horse than show horse.”
They give credit to others for their success and take full responsibility for poor results.
They “attribute much of their success to ‘good luck’ rather than personal greatness.”

It is my wish that the dangerously risky task of leading humanity continues to draw on the strength that is heart leadership and all efforts will be expended to cultivate and nurture such through this medium.

Leadership, a dangerous undertaking

In attempting to discuss the person of Jesus Christ in the context of leadership, it is important to specify that both historical accounts and structural records do not project Christ as a warm and fuzzy character that has come to be the theme of most sermons. Jesus Christ was and is the epitome of leading change.

Firstly, those involved in the process of leading change will tell you that it is one of the most difficult roles a human being can attempt. This is so because as human beings, we hate change even though admitting so is politically incorrect. So we resist moving from our comfort zones especially when the next zone does not guarantee comfort upfront.

So Jesus Christ introduces an ideology that challenges the established Jewish religious foundation while at the same time declaring himself the son of the living God. This makes his mission dangerous for itself and for him as the face of it.

See more at: http://www.spiritdominion.com

Leadership, risky business!

Leading: The art of getting people focused on an idealized future and moving full steam in that direction. This art has been written about so much that a search for the word leadership brings out 499 million records in 27 seconds on Google.

Key in unpacking the concept is accepting that to lead is to live dangerously! Every day, in every facet in life, opportunities to lead call out to us. At work and home, in our local communities and in the global village, the chance to make a difference beckons. Yet most of us often hesitate. For all its passion and promise, for all its excitement and rewards, leading is risky, dangerous work! Why you would ask. Because real leadership -the kind that surfaces conflict, challenges long held beliefs, and demands new ways of doing things – causes pain. And when people feel threatened, they take aim at the person pushing for change. As a result, leaders often get hurt both personally and professionally. It is my wish that through this medium and other platforms, we will learn to understand that for those of us that are called to lead others, putting ourselves on the line, responding to the risks and living to celebrate our efforts is all in a day’s work

The concept of leadership has more followers and equally experts than most subjects with each publication building on already established ones. This piece does not seek to add to the amount of writing that has been done on the subject, but rather will seek to give my take on the discipline of leading others using Jesus Christ as the model leader. In order to embark on the content properly, it is crucial to accept that the question of nature vs. nurture is key and needs to be resolved up front.

There are people who are born with a gift to lead while there is also a large body of knowledge that seeks to teach the discipline of leading. Both these are crucial as some aspects of leading (for instance values or charisma) may prove difficult to teach while others may easily be taught (for instance the management aspects of leadership). So, are leaders born or made? It depends on what your DNA came programmed with and what social conditions you are raised under!

The humility in leading

Madiba

Madiba

After all is said and done, humility is a great quality of leadership which derives respect and not just fear or hatred. In both public office and corporate leadership power could be dangerous in the absence of humility.

Leading with courage

The courage of leadship

The courage of leadship

Often I am perplexed at how much those of us in positions of influence (structurally speaking) miss the mark in terms of what the art of leadership is especially in direct comparison to those without the formal positions of influence.

As often mentioned, I am firm a believer in leadership being a state of being rather than what we do. In other words who we are comes before what we do. It is in the moments when the formal power layers have been taken off that we see the real person. Sometimes the titles we are formally given make us not be who we are and thus rob the world of an opportunity to experience the greatness we are.

One thing I have come to appreciate is that leadership begins with the heart. A heart that is consistent in allowing the leader to live steadily while moving among the team. A heart that is contrite enough to allow humility and willingness to show humanity regardless of who witnesses it. A type of heart that is courageous enough to chart the right path without shrinking from doing the right thing.

A leader should be able to communicate his/her convictions regardless of what the implications. We have many great examples of those who led with conviction (our very own Madiba, Ghandi, Marcus Garvey, Patrice Lumumba, Martin Luther King and others are often referred to in this context).

They are committed to a course regardless of how unpopular that may be. And finally they are totally captivated by what they believe in so much so that it matters not if that survives them (being ready to die for an idea that will live than live for an idea that will die).

Leading through priorities

Priorities in leading

Priorities in leading

Leadership focuses on an envisioned tomorrow while enlisting others towards it through conviction and commitment. The art of leading others therefore also means if I forget the ultimate, I will be enslaved by the immediate. The old adage of focusing on important things in order to avoid being driven by urgent ones.
If we accept that the art of leading others is about them rather than us, therefore it follows that leadership also means we lose our right to be selfish. When we abandon our highest priority, we lose our way and people suffer. As such those of us that are entrusted with the custody of the leadership office need to always:
• Consider our actions and take care to avoid contradiction with the vision we champion
• That we work smart to ensure results in key areas of business
• Spend funds wisely and in areas that bring the best return
• Always feel dissatisfied in our production and thereby constantly challenge ourselves to do better
When leaders and people fail to maintain proper priorities, disappointment always results. Remember the paretto principle which says 80% of all output come from 20% of input. With the right priorities, 20% of our efforts will get 80% of the desired results. But with the wrong priorities, 80% of our effort will get 20% of the desired results. Priorities in leading people is not about working harder, but smarter.

A few of my favourite quotes

 

JB_favourite_quotes

The ultimate measure of man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

                                                                                          To add value to others, one must first value others. – John Maxwell

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”  – Winston Churchill

           The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already.   John Buchan

The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it. Theodore Roosevelt

      I think leadership comes from integrity – that you do whatever you ask others to do. I think there are non-obvious ways to lead. Just by providing a good example as a parent, a friend, a neighbor makes it possible for other people to see better ways to do things. Leadership does not need to be a dramatic, fist in the air and trumpets blaring, activity. Scott Berkun

The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say “I.” And that’s not because they have trained themselves not to say “I.” They don’t think “I.” They think “we”; they think “team.” They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don’t sidestep it, but “we” gets the credit. This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done. Peter Drucker

This saying is trustworthy: “If someone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a goodwork.” The overseer then must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher, not a drunkard, not violent, but gentle, not contentious, free from the love of money. He must manage his own householdwell and keep his children in control without losing his dignity. But if someone does notknow how to manage his own household, how will he care for the church of God? He must not be a recent convert or he may become arrogant and fall into the punishment that the devilwill exact. And he must be well thought of by those outside the faith, so that he may notfall into disgrace and be caught by the devil’s trap.  1 Timothy 3:1-7

Do not seek your own good, but the good of the other person.1 Corinthians 10:24