Question: Many young leaders are struggling to find their compass – can structured mentoring programmes help?
Answer: Leading people is not the same as writing code, operating a machine or compiling a document. Writing code is a skill. It can be taught and learned in a classroom or on the job. The issue is ability. The same could be said for operating a machine or compiling a document.
Leadership is different. The primary issue for excellence in leadership is intent, not ability. Is the leader willing to suspend his or her agenda in the interests of others? Today’s most enabling leaders have earned legitimacy not because they are good at any particular leadership skills, but because they have repeatedly passed the “intent test”. Of course, they may possess well-developed leadership skills as well, but it is their maturity, their capacity to act above self-interest, their willingness to align to a deliberately-chosen set of fundamental values, that people find compelling.
Unfortunately, values cannot be taught. Teaching applies to skills and abilities. Values are not skills or abilities. Values talk to judgement, to integrity, to intent, to maturity. The person who helps you to develop these, as an adult, we refer to as a mentor.
In South Africa in particular, but also more generally in countries where we operate, people entering the workplace have very different starting points when it comes to values …Read the full answer by clicking here
ARTICLE: THERE ARE ONLY TWO MUST-HAVES FOR LEADING IN A CRISIS
By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership.
There will always be a debate about which traits are most important for leading in a crisis – but two absolute essentials are compassion and courage, in that order.
For some leaders either or both of these qualities are fundamental aspects of their nature; they are part of their DNA. But ultimately, both compassion and courage are not a matter of genetics so much as they are a choice or a matter of the will. They can therefore be fostered or cultivated in leaders who do not naturally have these qualities.
Leaders in a crisis who lack compassion and courage can blame nobody but themselves. Both of these qualities are within their reach; they sit in their hearts. In a crisis, leaders choose to bring these qualities to the fore or lack the will to do so.
With every compassionate or courageous act, leaders develop their capacity to be more compassionate and courageous. They increasingly become the leaders their people need to be led by in a crisis.
ARTICLE: CARING FOR YOUR PEOPLE IN A CRISIS – WHAT IT MEANS
By Wendy Lambourne, director, Legitimate Leadership
Leaders who make people not things paramount during a crisis will be seen to care. Those who do the opposite will rightfully be perceived as uncaring if not heartless.
Of course caring for one’s people means doing the best you can, within available resources, to look after their physical and material needs. Leaders who truly care also give their people time and attention, honesty and “tough love” during adverse times.
Their intention in all instances is to nurture or build strong people because strong people not only withstand, but may even overcome, their circumstances. Weak people, conversely, can wane even in the most benign set of conditions.
VIDEO: HAVE THE COURAGE TO LEAD (THE FIFTH 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 is, first and foremost, an ethical leadership framework. It requires leaders to not only stay legal but to live up to the highest moral code. That means to consistently choose to do the right rather than the expedient thing; to be values- rather than needs-driven. Which takes courage. As Simon Sinek says, this needs to hold true not only in the relationship between leaders and their people, but also in dealings between leaders and their customers, suppliers, shareholders and the community. At the end of the day this is a choice on how to live one’s life.
OUR SUMMARY OF THIS VIDEO: It is extremely hard to make decisions with a Just Cause (Sinek’s first of 5 practices of leadership) in mind when so many of the pressures on us are pushing us to make finite short-term decisions (if you work for a public company).
The pressure is overwhelming from the outside to focus on the finite at the expense of the infinite (see note at end of this summary for definitions of finite and infinite). Sometimes we put pressure on ourselves to focus on the finite. We become so obsessed with the arbitrary goals we set for the end of the year that sometimes we abandon our own values in order to make the sale, gain the client, move the numbers. If we do that too many times over the years, it’s to the detriment of our own organisations and our own people.