Follow the leader?

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I wrote a very short blog back in February about the importance of strong and consistent Leadership in an agency. With so much discussion in the political world on the need for strong leadership currently I thought it would be a good time to expand on the topic.

There is no shortage of advice on how to develop effective leaders but Kouzes and Posner’s ‘Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership’ is a pretty good place to start.

Model the Way

They kicked off with ‘Model the Way, because actions really do speak louder than words. Good leaders think about how they want people to behave and demonstrate it. This is particularly important during periods of change or uncertainty.  It also means you really do have to do your time sheets and expenses on time.

Inspire a Shared Vision

‘Inspire a shared vision’ is the second leadership attribute. All of us want to believe that we are not just ‘turning the handle’ and that we are part of team working towards a clear vision or destination. Once the vision has been developed, communicated and progress tracked you will be amazed at how the team is motivated by a single direction of travel.

Challenging the Process

The most successful agencies are innovating their structures, services and charging methods, so ‘Challenging the Process’ is a critical leadership attribute. Driving change requires clear thinking and consistency and the ability to bring those less eager team members with you. It’s not always easy but it’s unlikely that your vision requires your agency not to change.

Enable others to Act & Encourage the Heart

The final two leadership attributes – ‘Enable others to Act’ and ‘Encourage the Heart’ get down to nuts and bolts of good leadership – they help develop new leaders. We’ve all worked for micro managers, but if you don’t provide a framework and freedom to act within it your team are not going to develop. Of course good leaders accept that mistakes will be made and rather than chastise the culprit look for ways to learn from it.

I’m under no illusions of how tough running an agency can be but giving some thought to what sort of leadership you provide can make a real difference. Think back on all the bosses you worked for who didn’t provide consistent and motivating leadership. You don’t want to be remembered in the same way do you?