Thursday, 15 April 2010

New dawn leadership

I was reminded recently of an old boss who currently sits on the board of a FTSE 250 company and how his style was one of the most difficult I have ever had to work with in my career. Now none of us is perfect and our flaws and inadequacies are what make us human and, to be honest, interesting. In my many roles in leadership I have learnt more from my mistakes than from the many books I have read.

Now I get to work with some of the top global leaders and I try to understand what are the key drivers and behaviours that distinguish one from another. One of the key questions I get asked is what makes a good leader in organisational terms. I did have the pleasure of sitting down with a team of counter insurgent leaders who have had the experience of leading small groups behind enemy lines in Iraq. Now I am not advocating the adoption of military style leadership, but it was a fascinating study in how you mould a small group with a high risk dependency, a need for absolute trust and an uncompromising ability to act in a co-ordinated way. The leadership skills are toughness, clarity, trust, alignment, decisiveness and a belief in the team.

Toughness isn't about making noise in a meeting. It's about holding people accountable. That can be done effectively without ever taking away anyone's dignity. Great leaders have to bring about continuous improvement that provide break-through solutions for today’s challenges and an environment of change and innovation that includes what is known and unknown about the future. The ‘new dawn’ leader will need key attributes to allow them shape all our futures:-
• Driven to lead
• Leading without looking
• Push for change
• Operates like a Venture Capitalist
• Harnessing The Power of Culture
• Innovative Beyond Imagination
• Rewriting both the written and unwritten rules
• Globally Wired
• Trust and authenticity at their core.

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