Leadership isn't only about action; it is a perspective through which we see the world. Leadership shapes our thoughts, strategies, actions and commitments. In my last blog post, I compared the roles of manager and leader and questioned if you can be both for your program. I believe the answer is yes. Leadership and management are not opposites, but more like two eyes that provide binocular vision.
If you allow the two perspectives, management and leadership, to shape your vision you will be able to achieve a higher level of understanding of your program. Similar to how two eyes provide depth perception, a high-level leader and manager can address a topic with a significant depth of understanding. How do we assure that we see things "with both eyes open"?
According to Kouzes and Posner, 75 percent of people expect their leaders to be forward thinking, but executives spend only 3 percent of their time thinking about the future! How do we set aside the distractions of our daily work to be the leaders others expect us to be?
- Lead through conversations. Ask questions. Learn about people's values, ideas, concerns and dreams. Share your vision and allow it to be shaped by their reaction, concerns and ideas. Develop strong trusting relationships.
- Be intentional with your words, actions, commitments and use of your time. Clearly identify what you want to do and a flexible strategy that will allow you to do it.
- Provide hope. Inspire others by believing goals can happen. Instill the same hope in others through your words and actions. When a group shares and believes in a common hope, the quality of their work increases, and so does the personal joy and value in individual accomplishments.
- Invite others Encourage others to get active in achieving goals and leading the program. The Blandin Foundation's latest Rural Pulse survey shows that 53% of people who are not currently in a leadership role for an organization would consider serving if asked! This is a great resource for leaders, but delegation can be hard to do. I struggle with "making the ask" and trusting others use their own leadership and work style to accomplish our shared goals. But I am learning to do it.
Do you struggle with any of these issues? Do you have other ideas to support leadership development? What works for you?
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