By definition a leaders leads a team to take action in favor of the vision.
The most well know methods for assessing leadership styles, such as DISC, have outlived their usefulness!
? Are leadership styles really captured in a neat questionnaire like DISC that measures Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness?
? Can we predict the leaders from the profile that DISC generates?
? Can we test great leaders and say people with the same profile will have similar success?
It seems the answer is less obvious.
We certainly need specific characteristics to be successful: we need a level of business acumen to deliver the results; we need a level of appreciation of others, to know who to surround ourselves with, to ensure our collective success; and, we need to be magnetic to attract others to the vision.
? For most of us the company will provide ample opportunity to gain business acumen, our key is to take advantage of it. Ask questions, seek mentoring by an experienced manager or leader you admire, change this person on a regular basis so you learn the many aspects of style and appreciation, to communicate the message widely.
? Many of us will have the opportunity to hire and fire. We can employ people we think will be good, work with them, develop them and begin to appreciate who will be successful, and more importantly, who will add to the success of the team.
? Rarely will the company offer the opportunity to learn how to be magnetic, what it means and how to command it. We need to develop this for ourselves. It needs to be our passionate commitment on every occasion, as the pearls of wisdom are hidden in strange places. To unlock our self-limiting unconscious patterning requires a ruthless honesty we must nurture, for it causes the pain of loss to release some things we have over identified with.
Leadership style is our characteristic expression of success. It's not analyzing DISC styles and trying to emulate them: it is much more involved. It is marrying your own action-based values with the passion to deliver the vision.
The literature is full of individuals who have achieved success and the characteristics of their styles. Often this is extremely insightful about these people and the decisions they made.
However, it rarely enables us to move forward to what leadership style is current for now. Every window of opportunity requires a slightly different mix of characteristics.
If our style fits the current expectations of success, so much the better, if it doesn't we will need more perseverance than others to join the ranks of leaders.
The characteristic style of leadership required for now is not something any one has ever been able to predict. Our discussions are always retrospective.
As such there is no template for success. The style of expression of some values correlate better with top leadership, some do not. However there is, in theory, a right time and place for everything and everyone.
Sustainable leadership is founded on a base of sincerity. Unless we can be sincere in our power, acceptance and wisdom we can't attract others to share our vision. Without these allegiances, not much gets done that is original; we only get endorsed to continue the status quo.
For most leaders this is not what they thought they would be employed for!
To develop sincerity in both our conscious and unconscious patterning requires much discipline and time. Music is like this: to play an instrument well we must perfect our timing, fingering and technique until we are very, very good.
Then, and only then, we can allow our personal expression of the piece to shine, it is like we are getting our minds out of the way to manage the details, so that our spirit can shine forth. Others recognize this and are drawn to it and us.
Leadership is the same; it is our passionate commitment to the vision, despite the insoluble moments, that commands attention in others. When we demonstrate this, they seek to emulate us, join our team and align with us. If we are in our ego this can be flattering, however the leader is often so passionate about their ideas that they recognize us for our contribution to the vision.
Examples of commitment to the vision are best understood by context and analogy. We can use physical structures most easily. One of my favorite programs that shows commitment to the vision and success, is the engineering marvels program on pay TV.
Massive engineering feats are approached with enormous daring because some of the technologies required to deliver the product have not been created yet! They haven't been tested, tried or costed and yet are essential ingredients!
Imagine having a vision of an aircraft and knowing it can be built, we just don't know how yet. Physics tells us that as an aircraft doubles in seating capacity it quadruples in weight. In other words its fuel costs are double the current aircraft per passenger ratio.
We need to create new technologies to enable the aircraft to be lighter, more robust and provide improvements in fuel economy. Otherwise it won't sell!
Imagine it is the major of Boston who backed building a tunnel under the city to link key arterial roads. The work began with 'conditioning the soil to be tunneled'. This required three years of concrete being pumped into the earth to make it hard enough to tunnel through!
They also froze a section of ground temporarily to enable an existing underground train station to be reinforced above the roadway.
Leadership then is: having the ability to communicate a vision that you are passionate about, to such a level that others join you.
Rosemary's book describes how to identify your skills, which you can use to communicate the vision passionately, and with sincerity.
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Rosemary Johnston is a professional corporate and personal coach. Working with executives from some of Australia's largest and most successful companies for over 15 years.
Rosemary's new book, "How To Develop Your Leadership Style and Skills" is now available to download at her web site. Read about some of the success Rosemary has had coaching leaders in Australian blue chip companies. http://www.leadershipfirst.com.au