What is ‘good leadership’? I am sure there are reams of academic papers on the subject. I don’t consider myself an academic expert on leadership but have strong views about what good leadership is. To me it’s a term, much like ‘strategy’, that is misused and misunderstood. Being a leader isn’t about your title, hierarchy, control or having all the answers. Yet in my experience leaders have a hard time breaking out of the traditional concepts of leadership and embracing a different approach.
Some of that pressure comes from the practice of measuring success solely on outputs and results rather than how they are achieved. Whilst quality outputs are essential how something is done will not only say a lot about an organisation, its values and purpose it can, if mishandled, directly undermine effectiveness and sustainability.
For me leadership is all about the positive power of relationships. It is about emotional and personal factors like love, vulnerability and authenticity. It’s about valuing your colleagues and bringing the best out of them. It’s about helping them unlock something inside them that maybe they didn’t know was there. It’s about passion, purpose and vision and also humility, humour and fun.
Lynn Berry, at our annual conference challenge ourselves not to ask ‘how do we empower our staff?’ but rather ‘what is it we’re doing which disempowers them?’. It was a great provocation. More and more leaders must focus on how to attract, retain and develop their work force and create great places to work. Whilst CFG is not perfect we’re taking huge steps in the right direction and I hope that by sharing our journey so far that others will be able to identify steps that might be useful in the own organisations.
Caron will be covering leadership and empowerment in the opening plenary at the South West and Wales Conference. Book now and find out more
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