Leadership is a topic that\’s been studied extensively with various approaches to what it takes to be a great leader. However, out of all the expositions and narratives there\’s always a unique approach to leadership with pockets of similarities. These pockets of similarities in most cases have often been considered the hem that holds organizations together guiding them towards their successes. This may or may not be true. In my perspective, beyond the leadership styles and perspectives, there\’s need for an alignment of purpose, grounding and team spirit that helps organizations achieve outstanding outcomes. The question then is on who has the responsibility for these?
In the last couple of months, I have indulged in a mentorship circle with my peers and colleagues focusing on building my leadership skills. In this circle one of the key principles we\’ve come to hold true is that by being better human beings, we are definitely going to be better leaders and professionals in our various fields of practice. Our goal is then to be better human beings in our journey through life which is a work in progress. I\’ve enjoyed these discussions and in the next couple of weeks I will indulge you in these discussions by sharing insights and snippets of the ideas I\’ve been able to learn from the team.
Organizational cultures shape relationships that exist among employees in a company. These then influence their interactions both within the institution and outside the organization. Often times, we are accustomed to narratives where you\’ll hear managers showering their teams with praise while in the outside world, customers are crying foul. This can also be flipped where the managers feel frustrated and conflicted on how to get their teams to work while customers are celebrating these very employees for being helpful & valuable to them. Take note, fleecing your company to please customers for your selfish interests doesn\’t meet the bill in this case. The worst case is where both entities are disillusioned by the performance of company employees. These are often cause for worry and as we worry about them, there\’s a need to be focused on finding solutions. The need to rewrite the narrative and have a performing company in such a situation cannot be overemphasized. How do we go about this?
Organizations like individuals have a life. They are either nurtured or choked to death depending on the circumstances they are put to. Like a child depends on the parents to nurture, guide and correct them in their formative phases, a company depends on its founders, leaders and managers to nurture, guide and shape it to whatever it needs to be. This means that the company must have a purpose for being. This purpose needs to be so compelling and practical that the leaders can live it in their day to day lives. By living this purpose, they can infuse their enthusiasm to their teams ensuring their is an alignment and buy in from all to be able to deliver on the job. A key aspect in leadership beyond the vision is setting the tone of the company. As human beings, we need and deserve compassionate care. Compassionate care doesn\’t equal lack of accountability. It\’s a situation where as an organization, you believe you have to be honest, bold and accountable to each other from the stakeholders, employees and customers. This is the basis of a high support, high accountability organization. Individuals embrace an \”I can do it attitude and mindset.\” Such a culture opens up the team for diverse perspectives, ideas and ingenuity to channel insights for success. This is what we need.
Some of these are well acclaimed principles. Why is it that they are not embraced and made a reality in most organizations? Talk and action are conflicted. That\’s the short and honest answer but this can change. Leaders have to start by emulating and living the purpose of the companies they work for. Additionally, in a company it\’s better then being nice but being good. Being nice doesn\’t raise responsible and accountable children. Being good does. The same way being nice, doesn\’t grow successful companies but being good does.
Leaders have to live the purpose of the organization and align with it. How? By setting an altruistic and virtuous ideal for their lives with a focus on making life and living better for others through their life, vocation and experiences. By so doing, they will act with honesty, compassion and care. This is the kind of leadership we need to address our global challenges from families, companies to governments. As my mentor and senior colleague says, we need a moral rearmament grounded on a higher purpose. As a leader are you a living example of the purpose of your organization or is that just BS for publicity? Are you working to be a better human being or being a better leader and keeping a terrible personality?