Leading Beyond Your Own Style

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Nor does he stand ramrod tall and deliver a lecture or key message points. He lets it all hang out — and is, by turns, sensitive, passionate, and responsive. What the managers see is what they get.

Manual Mountain Geography - A Critique And Field Study

Recent research also finds that groups that are better at sharing information tend to make better decisions. This kind of group also tends to be more entrepreneurial, because individual members feel a greater sense of ownership for group and organisation-wide problems and feel more empowered to act on them. To make the cooperative style work, the leader must focus equally on the quality of business decisions and the maintenance of interpersonal relationships.

If the focus on relationships overwhelms the leader, groupthink can result.

The concept of groupthink was first proposed by Irving Janis of Yale University. Janis studied the common behavioural traits displayed by senior decision-making groups that focus exclusively on building relationships. He found that consensus decisions might lead the group to believe all their decisions are perfect; that they can pressure dissenters not to speak; and that they even self-censor when thy have personal doubts.

The focus on relationships in groupthink makes disastrous decisions much more likely because participants would rather avoid conflict than discuss issues thoroughly.

Cooperative leaders may also be vulnerable in another way. They often build homogeneous teams that do not conflict because the members all think along similar lines. Agreeable leaders are tempted to select people based on how well they get along with other team members, rather than on the diversity of their knowledge and skills.

Women In Leadership Series - Leading Beyond Self

But recent work by Kathleen Eisenhardt and colleagues at Stanford University, for example, illustrates the essential relationship between the decisions of top management teams and heterogeneity in knowledge, skills and roles. Looking backwards, one can probably point to one successful company led by a competitive CEO for every one led by a cooperative one. If anything, the ratio probably skews toward the Paul Austin style of leader. Companies are faced with more external uncertainty than ever before.

Sadhguru's Talk on Leadership - Leadership Beyond the Leader

Ever-expanding global competition, fast-paced technologies, erratic economic fluctuations and unpredictable political situations have created an increasingly dynamic business environment. To be successful, chief executives and senior management teams must be equipped to cope with unpredictability. This favours the more cooperative approach. I envision a leader who forms top teams that put forth and hold to a clear set of corporate values while at the same time being open to trying new things to bring those values to life.

This will entail a certain level of conflict as the status quo is shaken and stirred, but I believe the right kind of leader will be able to introduce and model agreeable conflict. In most businesses, things today simply move too fast to permit total awareness and knowledge by any one person in the company. Cooperating will be infinitely more successful than fear mongering.

Lastly, companies have to become more entrepreneurial. Success is increasingly found in speed and experimentation rather than flawless implementation. As a result, dynamic organisations are best suited to individuals who are willing to accept change and able to work collaboratively with a variety of people — many of whom they may barely know — as circumstances change. The powerful combination of cooperation and teamwork will be increasingly appreciated by CEOs and their top teams. Bullies need not apply. You can remove the unavailable item s now or we'll automatically remove it at Checkout.

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It's easy to see how pretending to know everything when you don't can create situations that can be problematic for your entire organization. On the other hand, when you take responsibility for what you don't know, you benefit both yourself and your organization. On an interpersonal level, self-awareness of your strengths and weaknesses can net you the trust of others and increase your credibility -- both of which will increase your leadership effectiveness. On an organizational level, the benefits are even greater. When you acknowledge what you have yet to learn, you're modeling that in your organization it's okay to admit you don't have all the answers, to make mistakes and most importantly, to ask for help.

These are all characteristics of an organization that is constantly learning and springboards to innovation and agility -- two hallmarks of high performing organizations.

John Knights

Most likely, your strengths are what got you to this point in your career. As your role in your organization changes, you must be careful not to overplay a former strength to the point that it actually becomes a weakness. For example, let's say you're great with detail and have done good things for your organization as an individual contributor and get rewarded with a management role.