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Helen Green

Quest Leadership

Leadership Collaborator

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Believe in leadership


How much do you believe in leadership? Do you see it as a destination or a journey, a right or a privilege? Do people engage with you because of your title or because of who you are and what you can bring to the organisation?

It’s a question which sits at the heart of leadership. Great leaders deliver extraordinary results because they have leadership credibility. In other words they do what they say they will do, their people believe in them and more importantly trust them to lead the organisation along the right pathway.

That doesn’t mean that leaders won’t have to lay down the law or set a firm direction from time to time. After all, one of the key tasks of a leader is to develop strategy in order to take the business forward. But when people trust and believe in their leaders; then strategy and values and even changes of direction are welcomed as being in the long term interests the organisation, its people, its customers and its investors.

So what are the key traits which enable great leaders to deliver excellence? For more than thirty years leadership researchers Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner have studied and analysed the characteristics of great leaders. Their research led them to develop The Leadership Challenge™, a leadership model which has sold over 2 million copies and been translated into twelve languages. At the heart of this leadership development framework sits the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership™ namely:

  • model the way
  • inspire a shared vision
  • challenge the process
  • enable others to act
  • encourage the heart

Together these five practices comprise more than 70% of what leaders do to deliver extraordinary results. But together they also build an authentic leadership style which delivers credibility and trust. It’s not hard to see why. When we talk about inspiring and enabling and encouraging we are talking about a genuine recognition that leadership is a relationship rather than a dictatorship. So great leaders don’t have to micromanage because they can influence, they don’t have to restrain because they can inspire. More importantly, by being authentic and living strong personal values, they can encourage others to do likewise.

There is no short cut to developing leadership credibility. You can’t just stick on the name badge, make a few pronouncements and expect people to instantly engage with you. Last month we examined the way in which coaching is a partnership of trust and the same is true of great leadership. From the research carried out by Kouzes and Posner and from our own work as leadership coaches and consultants we know that great leadership comes through coaching and through development and like any skill it has to be practised in order for it to grow. That’s why we talk about leadership being a journey; more importantly, one which never ends.

When you set the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership™ at the heart of your leadership model, when you build genuine human connections, when you develop relationships; only then will your leadership have authenticity and credibility. How much do you believe in leadership? Perhaps instead we should be asking how much your people believe in you!

Author Profile Picture
Helen Green

Leadership Collaborator

Read more from Helen Green

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