What kind of leader do we need?

Whether we are leading in a corporation, a government agency, or a social sector or nonprofit organization, we need to ask, What kind of leaders do our people deserve and require in these demanding times?

We need leaders who:

• Practice dispersed leadership, leaders at every level of the enterprise, so that we are relying not on the leader but on leaders dispersed across the organization–on ourselves. These are leaders who remember Peter Druckers admonition, “They’re not employees, they’re people.”

• Believe and embody in concept, language, and action that leadership is a matter of how to be, not how to do, knowing in the end it is the quality and character of the leader that determines the performance, the results.

• Believe and demonstrate that the people of the organization are the organization’s greatest asset — making that a reality, not a slogan. These are leaders who build the richly diverse organization with powerful representation at every level, on all teams, in all groups, on all boards, in all management, and in all visual materials. They realize that rapidly changing demographics present enormous opportunities.

• Help distill the concept and language of the mission–why the organization does what it does, its purpose, its reason for being. These leaders invest in building the mission-focused, values-based, demographics-driven organization, permeating the total organization with mission and values, and demonstrating the power of reflecting the many faces of our country.

• Communicate with the people of the organization, the customers of the organization, and the many publics we engage — always reflecting in our communications that communication is not saying something, communication is being heard. Here the act of distilling language is one of the most effective skills the leader of the future can perfect. One sentence, one paragraph, one page–connecting, helping, inspiring, being heard.

• Practice the art of listening, who practice “think first, speak last.” Leaders who are healers and unifiers use listening to include, not exclude–building consensus, appreciating differences, finding common concepts, common language, common ground.

• In their own lives try to find work-life balance and make work-life balance a reality in the lives of their people. If you think that this is a lovely ideal but not realistic in today’s tough world, try comparing the productivity and morale of a workforce that is encouraged and supported in finding this rare work-life balance with those of a dispirited workforce where work-life balance is not a consideration and “take no prisoners” is a valued management style.

• Share successes widely while accepting responsibility for shortfalls and failures. These leaders take a tough measure of their own performance, aware that their language, behavior, and action are measured against their self-proclaimed values and principles.

Are there qualities needed now more than ever? I propose that this is a time for leaders of quality and character, leaders who live the values, who are healers and unifiers, who bring hope to the people and the work of the enterprise. Bringing hope, healing, and unity within the organization and beyond the walls are essential qualities our times require of our leaders of the future.

Author: Frances Hesselbein

Article was used from the Sojo website

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