We hear many bits of advice on ways to lead effectively. I admit, I am one that offers up some of those items. I can sometimes get confused as I listen to others, read articles, and reflect on my own leading experiences. Great ideas on leading, leadership, communicating, executing, decision making, trusting, mentoring, building up people; but what does it all mean?
Balance or Spinning?
I have heard the advice about having balance in life. Applying this notion of balance to our discussion on leading would lead us to conclude there can and should be a balance in how we lead and apply the multitude of tips we receive on leadership. The first picture that comes to mind is that of three plates spinning on top of three sticks. Balance then becomes the action of keeping each of the plates spinning and balanced on their respective sticks.
The constant spinning and returning to each of the plates to insure the right amount of pressure and attention is placed on each one can be daunting. I suggest a simpler approach to leading.
Not Easily Broken
It is said that three strands of a cord are not easily broken. Instead of three plates, if we approach leading with the idea of three strands, it may be a simpler model to maintain. Strands in a cord are pulled on with the same pressure at the same time. The balance is built into how the cord or rope is made. Likewise, a model for leading needs to have this same principle built into its core framework.
The model for leading I am developing and recommend being adopted as an effective and accessible framework consists of three strands: People, Performance, and Purpose.
Business is conducted with people. Whether it is people insuring a machine or certain portion of a manufacturing line is operational, or building a castle out of stone, people are involved. Today, as before, people are the key to creating and manufacturing the products we wear, eat, live in, drive in, walk in.
Gaining feedback and understanding the impact on what is done in business and any situation where there is a leader and those being led is critical for improvement. Sometimes it is good to have feedback to simply know that what was planned actually happened.
It is difficult, if not impossible, to continue for any length of time doing something without the knowledge of why it is being done. Another aspect of purpose to explore is meaningfulness of why something is done.
It is our thesis that this model of leading can accommodate the many facets of leadership development currently being discussed. We will expand on this model of leading with a series of articles to follow. Your comments are welcome and appreciated.
What have you found to be effective in balancing different aspects of leading others?