By Stuart Foulds, associate, Legitimate Leadership.
Question: As a leader, I want to demonstrate that I can suspend my interests in favour of my team’s. But everything I can think of helping them with is clearly in my interests as well as theirs. Our interests do not appear ever to be in conflict. To suspend my agenda for theirs requires somewhat separate agendas … right? I feel like we’re working towards common goals and our agendas are aligned, so what have I missed? Their growth opportunities, for example, might not directly help me but they benefit me in the long run as they grow in competence. My time spent with them never feels wasted.
Answer: Don’t feel alone! As leaders embark on their legitimate leadership journey, many initially wrestle with this apparent quandary. But it’s not truly a quandary. The answer goes straight to your INTENT.
VIGNETTE CASE STUDY: WANT MORE AUTHORITY? GO AND ASK FOR IT!
By Josh Hayman, associate, Legitimate Leadership.
The simplest way to obtain the authority you feel you need to devolve decision-making downwards through the line, is to go and ask for it. Even if you believe the environment won’t support your efforts, you don’t know until you ask. As one manager asking for this kind of authority in this case study said, “Every door I kicked swung open.”
Also, managers are likely to find that their people are generally more capable and more trustworthy than they are given credit for – and more willing to take on responsibility.
In this case study, one of our clients operating in an industry with high technical complexity found itself in the position of applying very high levels of control in the workplace. This over time led to a high price being paid in terms of workforce engagement, ownership and accountability.
A prevailing view developed over time that turning this around would be a slow and arduous process.
By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.
Let us be clear: both good management and good leadership are required for sustainable organisational performance. Management, however, is a process and set of practices which are best applied to things (like money, facilities, systems, inventory, etc). Leadership on the other hand is a process and set of practices pertinent to people.
The problem arises when management is applied to people. It literally reduces people to the status of things.
More specifically, this problem presents itself in organisations in situations in which those who have people reporting to them, for whom they are responsible, are managers and not leaders.
Managers are different from leaders in five vital respects.
VIDEO: HAVE WORTHY RIVALS (THE 3RD OF SIMON SINEK’S 5 PRACTICES OF LEADERSHIP)
By Simon Sinek, American author on leadership and motivational speaker.
COMMENT BY WENDY LAMBOURNE, LEGITIMATE LEADERSHIP, ON THIS VIDEO: Legitimate Leadership argues that a goal which is about competing to win is not helpful – in the first instance, because victory or defeat are largely outside of our control. A focus on winning is moreover potentially debilitating. This is because a focus on beating the competition leads to a fear of failure which often actually reduces rather than enhances performance. We believe that the goal should not to be better than the rest. Rather the goal should be to continually strive to be better than before. And this can only be achieved through a relentless, albeit incremental, lifting of behavioral and performance standards. In that sense a “worthy rival” who highlights areas of improvement in ourselves can be extremely helpful. Making the shift from “arch competitor to be beaten at all costs” to “worthy rival who we can learn from and possibly even collaborate with” is however no easy task. It requires a level of personal maturity which is not easy to achieve. It requires a capacity to contradict a strong drive that most of us have (to win) in order to do what is right. It necessitates a preparedness to suspend our need for immediate gratification and the adrenaline kick which comes from winning to do the hard and difficult work of improving ourselves. But isn’t that what maturity is actually all about? It is about developing an increasing capacity to let go of the “get”, and to “give” unconditionally.
OUR SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO: A worthy rival is another player in the game that is worthy of comparison – that in some way reveals to your weaknesses that are opportunities for you to work to improve yourself.
There’s another guy who does what I do. He gives talks, he writes books, he’s extremely well respected and he does very good work.
I like and respect his work. I just happened to hate him.