Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Leadership Begins Outside of Corporate Life

Let’s face it: corporate leadership is being questioned for its values and effectiveness. The masses demand that leadership deliver, with their expectations of deliverables, leadership values and strength of character. Disappoint them, and the consumers and Followers can boycott a company’s products and services. Choices are ubiquitous. Companies can choose to lead with their head, heart or hands or self-implode from arrogance and conceit. Number One can slide down the spiral of self-indulgence and self-aggrandisement.

Have a holistic view of leadership: from within, and from without. Looking inwards, we glean from our hindsight, insight, and foresight. From the outside, we can learn lessons and wisdom of those who became regarded as models of inspiration and best-in-class practice. Let who you are in your personal life manifest itself in your professional life. We cannot have opposing sets of values. ‘Being yourself’ is not a pipe-dream in a corporate setting.

Professionalism is about reducing inappropriate behaviors. Start with ourselves! Lead with our actions. Talk is cheap. Theft is rampant. Control is on the rise by fearful people. Opportunists will patiently wait at every corner. Self-esteem and self-worth are taking a beating because leaders continue to talk down to their staff. Please remove archaic and demeaning titles like ‘subordinates’, ‘employees’ and ‘superiors’ from your Performance Appraisal forms and system. Treat staff like a colleague and person, not a prisoner number. Add value by creating pleasant working experiences and have productive conversations.

Communicate constantly and clearly. If your business language is not strong enough, do it face-to-face or over the telephone. Written skills are not a core competency of many, especially those who ignorantly hide behind templates, and are naïve about their lack of clarity. Reduce doubt, worry and anxiety because staff will intuitively suspect you of your dubious behaviors and intentions as a leader. Update your status and stature as a manager and do the right thing.

Earn your title as a leader. Live it. Express it. Let the Dragon within us arise!

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