Flexible Leadership

"Leadership: The art of getting someone else to do something that you want done because he wants to do it."
Dwight D. Eisenhower

If you’re the boss, you can walk around telling people what to do – and, until they leave, you will get compliance and that means: the bare minimum of effort and just about adequate performance. But if you want discretionary effort, the effort people choose to give above and beyond the job description, and the kind of performance that gives you a competitive edge, then you need to use a different approach.

You need to lead.

Good leadership engenders creativity, initiative and resourcefulness. It motivates, enthuses and energises staff. It increases efficiency, self-reliance and teamwork.

  • leadership creates the conditions for people to thrive
  • leadership gets the job done today and helps people to grow and achieve more in the future
  • leadership creates performance

And performance generates competitive edge and profit.

The purpose of this part of The Edge Program is to help you to realise these benefits in your own organisation.

  • enable you to analyse each situation
  • help you to select the appropriate leadership approach
  • provide you with the required skills to act

You will develop new perspectives and skills so that you can:

  • cultivate the critical leadership behaviours that staff look for
  • establish a ‘connection’ with others and transform leadership into a partnership
  • use a variety of leadership styles to meet the needs of different situations
  • fine tune your leadership approach based on the personality, emotional triggers, working styles, thinking patterns and values of each individual
  • motivate people so that you gain discretionary effort and higher productivity
  • build confidence in others
  • help people to stretch and grow so that they become more capable and self-reliant
  • stimulate continuous improvement
  • create a change-friendly environment
  • turn around under-performing employees
  • develop high performing teams
  • understand and communicate how you create value
  • where appropriate, manage upwards so that you gain the support you require from your boss
  • work effectively with colleagues and other stakeholders
  • establish efficient working processes and habits

Worksheets, templates, questionnaires and other materials will help you to transform your insights into effective leadership action..

4 Perspectives

In doing so, I will consider leadership from 4 perspectives:

  • a leadership foundation – a set of principles, behaviours and ways of working with others
  • contextual leadership behaviours – how to apply the correct leadership approach in relation to a specific person and task, adapting your leadership style according to their competence, motivation, confidence, personality, mindset, performance level …
  • teams – building and maintaining high performing teams
  • managing conflict – how to eradicate destructive behaviours without losing the benefits of healthy debate

 Misconceptions

There are 2 common misconceptions about leadership:

1 The first is that a leader needs to be extroverted and assertive, to lead from the front. But you only need to be working with this type of person for a short time to realise that these attributes are rarely conducive to bringing the best out of people. If I am an introverted technical expert, who wants responsibility and relishes doing things my way (this may be close to the truth!), then this type of leader would be my idea of hell – and my performance would suffer. On the other hand, a leader who is more like a coach, asking questions, facilitating my thinking and challenging me, will bring out my creativity, initiative and determination.

The Edge Program will help you to adapt to the needs of different individuals so that they can deliver their best work.

The second misconception is that leaders are born not made. True, some individuals will have instinctive behaviours that enable them to lead well in certain situations. But these behaviours can be learned.

 “It's not the absence of leadership potential that inhibits the development of more leaders; it's the persistence of the myth that leadership can't be learned.”[1]

The Edge Program will enable you to help your staff to be the best that they can be and so deliver your competitive edge and high profits.

[1] The Truth About Leadership by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z Posner

Here's a short video from the Leadership module about charismatic leaders.

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Face-to-Face Training may not be so effective …

A typical face-to-face training session consists of a presentation by a facilitator, followed immediately by an activity to apply the learning. There is little time for reflection or deeper analysis and, as a result, activities intended to deepen learning, like role plays, tend to be superficial. There’s a quick debrief and then on to the next topic. No chance to go away and experiment in the real world in situations where there is something at stake. At the end of the training day, you’re exhausted and any learning from earlier in the day is rapidly fading.

There is a limit to how much knowledge can be crammed into the human brain in a single day.

And then, when you return to work, you have to catch-up on all the stuff that accumulated while you were away. Often, you don’t even try to apply your learning – you’re too busy getting stuff done and within days the training is a fuzzy blur.

What a waste of your time – and money!

Face-to-Face Training is Expensive

The online content in each edge course, if delivered face-to-face, would normally require 2 to 3 days and cost several times our individual and group courses. Plus, if delivered off-site, there would be additional travel and accommodation expenses and time away from work.