Leaders across the nation are regularly challenged to find effective strategies to generate continuous improvement for organizational performance. Research is quite clear in terms of the impact of quality leadership as well as the “goods” that elevate leadership success. Best practice is also convincing regarding the most effective routines for leading organizational performance.
So what is it, explicitly, that sets high performance leaders apart? How can leaders avenge the trappings of distraction and endure to illuminate a clear focus when influencing change?
Today’s conventional leadership practices are broadly masked and more often mimic the characteristics of management. In this reality, success is interpreted as keeping operations running efficiently and effectively. In today’s globally charged economy, successful leaders know that they must do much more than “keep the organization financially fluid.” Many organizations stand on the precipice of failure with the rise in complexity, perishable skills, social and economic obstacles, and the widening allure of choice. The present-day challenge for leaders worth following is to break through these walls of limitation and create organizational clarity to accelerate leadership capacity across the organization.
Leaders Manage Data and Powerful Questions, Not People
The most effective leaders have a laser-like focus on the standards of performance within their organizations and create a common language articulated in common visual tools to improve organizational connectivity around these expectations. Additionally, when leaders intentionally invest time “on the floor” to elevate employee understanding of performance standards, they also generate close observations of what’s productive and what might need adjustment. These intentional “walkabouts” lend to the deeper investment of relational apprenticeship across their teams and magnify the opportunities to support, challenge, and empower the success in others.
How is this accomplished?
The leadership practices that positively impact performance incorporate the strength of the relationship between two primary variables: organizational clarity and leadership actions.
Six Powerful Questions to Guide Outstanding Leadership Clarity and Action
- Leadership Structure: Is your leadership structure clear at every level?
- Leadership Value: Do you and your people know and believe your values?
- Leadership Vision: Is it compelling?
- Leadership Strategy: Is it clear?
- Leadership Structure: Do you have the resources to support your strategies?
- Leadership Mission: Do your people know what your purpose is?
The organizations that can clearly respond to the above questions benefit to a greater degree in focus and have greater leverage in their actions. Moreover, leaders understand that it is not the quantity of initiatives on the table, but rather the viability and degree of successful implementation of these meaningful tasks. The other important fact is that in order to accomplish significant success, the tasks that might be labeled as insignificant or ineffective should be discontinued.
Effective leaders zero in on what can be monitored and have a high relational commitment to cultivate the capacity of those they lead. These high accountability/low control leaders shift from asking the general question “what works” to the more calculated examination of “what works best.”
Leadership Take Home
- Which pieces of data have the greatest leverage in guiding your overall performance?
- Which of your promising trends must be supported to effectively sustain and grow?
- When will you schedule your next organizational “walkabout?”
- How might you use this as an opportunity to open the doors of opportunity and empower those you serve?