World peace, business success, our individual prosperity, the resolution of our biggest social and environmental challenges are all reliant in upon leadership.
The media abounds with people and organisations that are praised or criticised for their leadership. Some are leading others through difficult circumstances or stepping up in some courageous way, others have shown themselves to be in-decisive or failed to respond to a catastrophic event.
Our society expects us to lead people whether we like it or not, when the circumstances demand it or when there is no choice but to step up.
The focus on professional and technical competence early in a career or as an entrepreneur in business, means that developing our emotional competence to lead people is invariably put on the back burner.
One of my greatest lessons early in my career was learning that people are not homogenous and that everyone is unique with their own stories and circumstances. I found that my technical skills helped with tasks and management, however it was emotional competence that showed me that if we want to be accepted to lead people then we need to show them that we care first about who they are and what they stand for, before we can show them how to realise more of their potential and lead them as a team to achieve results.
I strongly believe that people lead people best when they have an opportunity to discover their natural leadership capabilities through self-awareness and the application of self–discipline in every day activities, aware of how others are responding or impacted by our personal leadership style. We are then in a position to build relationships and have a positive impact. The challenge for many of us is to address our own knowing- doing gap.
If you are that ‘accidental leader’ at the top of your game technically then achieving a level of emotional competence will be vital to further development and career progression. Moving from ‘the accidental leader’ to an emotional competent and deliberate one includes:
Gaining personal insight into our own core capabilities, strengths and limits.
Achieving a level of self-management/discipline comfortable with complexity and ambiguity, adapting to the changing circumstances.
Recognising that we don’t need to be the expert in everything and that we have more positive impact when we have better questions
Recognise that power as a leadership style stifles the development of our teams own talents/skills/gifts.
Developing the skills to resolve workplace conflict and being the catalysts due to their own personality blind-spots and unrecognized strengths
Knowing how to create the right workplace culture where people bring discretionary effort to achieve outstanding performance in a changing business environment.
Setting course for emotional competent leadership comes from:
Consciousness. Recognising personal strengths and limits.
Clarity. Clarity about why we lead and the role of human to human connection in that leadership.
Competence. Being able to be present as a leader, to determine priorities and be clear that leadership is not what I am but rather what I do.
Continuum of growth. A continuum of learning, reflection and transformation that has us being a life-learner adapting to the changing business environment and being relatable with a diverse range of people.
Compounding Results. If leadership is the action of leading a group of people or an organisation, then knowing how to deliver results with relationships in tact and developing others along the way is vital.
The shift from the accidental leader who is professionally competent to the intentional one who is emotionally competent takes a shift in mindset and courage to set new benchmarks. Are you up for the challenge?