I attended a brief course on a “leadership system” earlier this month. The material of the course was filled with relevant and practical thoughts on how to establish, promote, and maintain a leadership system in the work place. Two of the items that stuck with me at the end of the course were inspirational leadership and a leadership process.
Inspirational leadership is about inspiring team members to high performance. That’s an assumed goal in any organization, but how is it achieved? What is it that motivates team members to high performance levels? Some of the attributes and behaviors of inspirational leadership include:
- Explain the business need and value for a set of business objectives – Simplify and deliver a message to team members to show them why and how their work is relevant to the overall benefit of the organization
- Maintain a positive attitude when faced with challenges and roadblocks – Team members will believe the objectives are achievable if the leader models this behavior and presents a no non-sense case of how to work through the barriers.
- Stay aligned with the mission and values of the organization to maintain relevancy – Human nature is to move towards people or things that are relevant. One sure way to stay relevant to the organization is to maintain alignment with its core set of beliefs. Team members respect this and will be inspired by leaders that role model this behavior.
If you’ve read other posts on The Merchant Stand blog you’ll know that I often write about processes. I’m always thinking about how to improve existing processes to be more efficient at achieving the end goal. The leadership process described in the course resonated with me because it followed closely the high level steps of product development.
- Set a direction or plan – maps to Concept and Strategy
- Engage and align to the plan – maps to requirements
- Perform – maps to build-out or development
- Review and make adjustments – maps to quality testing and defect resolution
- Learn and innovate – maps to lessons learned, adjustments, etc.
In the context of leadership, this means that leaders make sure their teams align with and follow those steps. Unlike a product or project that has a set beginning and end, the leadership process is a continuously evolving one. Adjustments and innovations are made based on lessons learned. The direction or plan will change periodically based on factors such as the external environment, stakeholders expectations, regulations, etc. But the process to lead and achieve the plan remains within the framework of the system.