One of the laws of physics states that “for every reaction there is an equal and opposite reaction”. The same is true for leadership, “for every action a leader takes there is a corresponding reaction from followers”. This simple truth is often over-looked by leaders, as leaders we often under estimate the influence we have over followers. I’m often reminded of this in situations where people say to me, “remember when you said xzy to me a few years ago? Well, that caused me to change this in my life”. Usually I don’t remember the exact situation they’re referring to or what I said however, it always reminds me, that as leaders, we never know when and what impact we’re having on others. As leaders we often under-estimate our influence.
Conversation is an important part of leadership and change as:
- Vision must be shared, before it can be lived, this requires conversation.
- Change is underpinned by conversation. Organisations change, when people change and people change one conversation at a time.
- Employee engagement is driven by meaning and purpose, this requires conversation.
- Execution requires alignment of action. this requires conversation.
Given the importance of conversations to leadership, the following principles serve as a useful guides for leaders looking to shape conversation:
“Leaders live in fish bowl and are always being watched. They should always be conscious of that fact and take advantage of it.” – Gene Klann
Leaders are being watched all the time. Every gesture, action and word is being closely observed. In a New York Times article, “He Wants Subjects, Verbs and Objects” based on an interview with Richard Anderson, chief executive of Delta Air Lines, makes the following point:
The “2010 Global IBM CEO Study” is one of the largest one-on-one CEO interview studies, surveying 1,541 CEOs, general managers and senior public sector leaders from 60 countries and across 33 industries. The four primary findings of this year’s survey are as follows:
I first came across the idea of a personal growth plan in John Maxwell’s book “The Success Journey: The Process of Living Your Dreams “. A personal growth plan is built upon the belief that personal development is our responsibility and as such we need to intentionally plan our growth. The idea is to have a plan that outlines the areas in our lives that require personal development. I have used a personal growth plan for a while and found it a useful tool that keeps me focused. If I’m not careful, distractions from media, e-mail, blogs and work pressures keep me from using my time wisely. In all the noise, I forget the personal development goals I set myself. Here are the five steps we need to take to develop a personal growth plan:
The debate between leadership and management has been raging for a number of decades! I think that the distinction between management a leadership is useful one, in that it helps us gain a better understanding of role of the leader and therefore causes us to reflect on our own behaviour and to ask ourselves “Are we really leading?” So what are the differences between managers and leaders?