Without strategic clarity and clear vision teams have to rely on detailed plans to get things done. Yet, despite our best efforts planning rarely goes as expected. Worse, the bigger the project the more likely that things will go wrong. The problem with relying on detail plans to guide execution are many:[Read more…] about Commanders Intent as a Style of Leadership
Vision is the foundation of leadership. Whilst leadership starts with being the right person – the character of the leader, great leadership is sustained by a shared and compelling vision. A compelling vision is one that describes who you are, why you exist and the future you want to create.
People don’t follow leaders with fancy titles and high positions. People don’t follow leaders who have authority. People don’t follow leaders of good character. Whilst all these things are helpful and contribute to influencing others, without a compelling vision people are not moved to follow a leader. If the quality of a leader’s vision is poor people will be reluctant to follow.
When Nelson Mandela spoke people listened. When Winston Churchill spoke people listened. When Warren Buffet speaks people listen. When Jeff Bezos speaks people listen. When leaders speak people listen. When you speak do people listen? Do you have the character and credibility to persuade others with your message? Ethos refers to an audience’s perception of the character, authority and credibility of the speaker. Ethos concerns itself with answering the questions of “What do you know about this topic?” and “Why should I trust you?” as asked by the audience.
The ancient Greeks considered rhetoric an essential leadership skill. Rhetoric being the ability to inform, persuade and motivate others. It was considered so important that it was central to all Greek higher education. In ancient times rhetoric was a core part of leadership development and it was taught to ensure leaders were able to speak and write persuasively.
Without communication you cannot lead. You just end up taking a walk on your own. Communication has been central to the “social process” of all great leaders.
“One can lack any of the qualities of an organizer – with one exception – and still be effective and successful. That exception is the art of communication. It does not matter what you know about anything if you cannot communicate to your people. In that event you are not even a failure. You’re just not there. Communication with others takes place when they understand what you’re trying to get across to them. If they don’t understand, then you are not communicating regardless of your words, pictures or anything else. People only understand things in terms of their experience, which means that you must get within their experience.” – Saul Alinsky, “Rules for Radicals”
Leaders are always communicating. Without communication leadership fails. Described below are the 8 practices that successful communicators use to engage others in their vision and move them to action.