Wednesday, 25 March 2009

The “secret” to leadership in uncertain times (2)

The secret to effective leadership in uncertain times is a relationship-based rather than performance-based climate: where you don’t rely primarily on an external system of rules to 'keep people in line' but on deeply shared purpose, generated and implemented through gutsy, open relationships between people; powered by the shared heartfelt desire to do good stuff together.

That’s the spirit of community and of high performance teams; where leadership is endemic, not restricted to 'a leader'; relationship is the driver; performance is an outcome; performance measurement provides data about the effectiveness of collaboration.

As writer Bob Gass puts it: effective teams share a “sense of belonging. Members extend trust to one another. Initially it's a risk because trust can be violated and you can get hurt. At the same time as each team member gives trust, each must conduct themselves in a way that earns the trust of others by holding themselves to a high standard.

When everyone gives freely and bonds of trust develop and are tested over time, they begin to have faith in one another. They believe that the people next to them will act with consistency, keep commitments, maintain confidences and support each other. The stronger their sense of belonging becomes, the greater their potential to work together.

All teams have disagreements. The mark of community is not the absence of conflict; it's the presence of a spirit of reconciliation. It’s not about people hiding their concerns to protect a false notion of unity. It’s about the ability to have a rough-and-tumble meeting with someone, but because we're committed to each other in shared purpose we can leave, slapping each other on the back, saying, 'I'm glad we're still on the same team'."

The leader’s role in a community like that is to lead by example (be 1st at):
  • risking emotion and intimacy in leader/follower relationships;
  • risking robust, open communication;
  • risking walking into a meeting without already knowing the answer;
  • risking sharing performance data;
  • risking following;
  • risking apologising;
  • risking letting the team decide the performance standards and manage the accountabilities;
  • risking performance appraisal by followers.

Tip: use the performance appraisal for feedback on the observed frequency of that risk-taking.

No comments:

Post a Comment