Category: Leadership

Insights on what drives Leadership: It matters how you relate with others

One of the best gifts an executive leader can get is to receive a snapshot of how she is being perceived in the organization. Today, 360 Feedback Instruments are being utilized in Executive Coaching engagements to measure
how an executive is being perceived in the workplace by bosses, peers and direct reports. A 360 Report can put leaders in touch with what’s working,what is not, and why! This is a powerful tool that can contribute toward
much greater leadership effectiveness.

A recent study of leader effectiveness revealed that the higher the rank of an executive, the less likely the person is to be able to observe the world from another individual’s perspective. The “Relatability” score is inversely related to prominence of position in the organization. Empathy is one of the lesser-developed characteristics of CEOs, according to the study. Is that how they got to the top? Or is that because they have isolated themselves in the corner office? Either way, it’s lonely at the top. And it’s clear that honest communication is needed at the highest levels, now more than ever, to help senior executive leaders see how important it is to connect and relate with people throughout the organization – and beyond.

Being able to relate with others is one of the most critical competencies of effective leaders. The effective executive leader is one who builds and maintains close relationships. They value openness, caring, intimacy, and
give support. The effective leader actively seeks to develop himself and others, and is characterized by having better relationships, better business results, and more personal satisfaction in their work. There’s humility here. You know the type — these are the leaders who inspire us.

Here are a few behaviors that indicate a relatable executive leader. See how many of these you (or your boss) demonstrate consistently:

  • Promoting high levels of motivation for teamwork
  • Fostering open dialogue with the team
  • Building good rapport and high trust
  • Respecting another’s opinion, even if you disagree
  • Acting as a role model for open communication
  • Speaking openly in the presence of “authorities”
  • Listening to and learning from subordinates

Then there are the telltale signs of the underperforming executive leader. See if you (or an executive you know) is demonstrating these characteristics:

  • Keeping relationships at arm’s length
  • Offering more criticism than praise
  • Taking over conversations or interrupting others
  • Getting angry or defensive when people disagree with you
  • Blaming others for your problems – expecting them to do most of the changing
  • Withdrawing from conflict
  • Making too many decisions yourself or providing too much direction
  • Avoiding difficult performance discussions

See the difference in orientation? Who wants to work for the boss who’s showing up as “unrelatable”? A good 360 instrument and leadership coaching debrief session will help an executive uncover and discover how they are showing up. A good coach can guide the executive through development steps to make relating skills a hallmark characteristic of the executive’s leadership qualities. This competency (one of many that contribute to optimal leader effectiveness) will help catapult an executive’s reputation in the organization. It takes a little work. Leader development is worth the investment of time and effort to enhance leadership effectiveness and build a work life and personal life full of more meaning and satisfaction.

Unconventional Leadership – The Simon Arias Blueprint

Simon Arias is a warrior and a survivor who has overcome so many challenges in life to be where he is right now – at the top of his game at the pinnacle of his career with nowhere to go but up. His story is something out of a storybook – growing up poor in a rough neighborhood in a single parent household, became enamored with the trappings of street life, in and out of juvenile detention centers – until he managed to right himself through the help of others. And then it was all positive from then on – rising, developing, conquering, succeeding – and then repeating the process.

His life may have been a struggle at first but it is his leadership and his rather unconventional style that has gotten our attention. His style may be considered humanistic but competitive – as he strives to create a familial culture and atmosphere but also cultivates a culture of competition – further incentivizing success with rewards and recognition, thereby keeping the edge and the loyalty going strong.

His leadership style may be considered unconventional but it is founded on the strong foundation of mentorship and modeling and further enhanced by recognition and incentives and the underlying concept of fun and friendly competition.

He has stated outright that you have to throw away the concept of work-life balance because you have to frontally load the equation with work, throwing the balance askew initially in order for you to enjoy the fruits of your labors in the future and stepping back without any inhibitions. While not exactly earth-shattering, Simon Arias does have a point – founded on the concept of sacrifice to get what you where you have to be in order to achieve unparalleled success.

He also stresses that if you really want to achieve something, you have to be able to replicate yourself among your subordinates so that you would be increasing the effectivity of the whole organization. Simon Arias muses that if you replicate yourself among a number of people, you increasingly give them the ability to run the organization while you start to let go and enjoy life. Sounds pretty much like active mentorship – which is probably what it really is.

Another thing that Simon Arias stresses is the importance of creating a familial atmosphere which not only gives the essence and sense of security but more importantly breeds loyalty and dedication to the company. We all know that company performance relies on the satisfaction of the employees. Which is why, it is pretty important to give credit where it is due and give due recognition to outstanding employees.

And speaking of recognition, it would also do well to incentivize performance – to give rewards to achievers, to give applause where it is due. And it is also important that a fun atmosphere would be created because it would increase the dedication and the performance of your employees. Yes, it would probably cost some money but if the result is increased performance overall, then it is a cost that is worth the burden.

In short, never lose sight of the ultimate goal. The journey is important as we have to develop people who would help us in our goals but the achievement of the vision is much more critical. The trappings are important because it helps you to arrive at the goal faster. The process is also important because it will leave a lasting impression of you among the people whose lives you have touched.

Simon Arias has shown us the path that we can follow. Overcome all obstacles and struggles, find someone to mentor and guide you and be ready to sacrifice to conquer the world. And when you get to conquer your goal, do not rest on your laurels and repeat the process all over again on a different goal this time and replicate the success you have experienced – the results would be more than worth it.

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