Today I decided to talk a little bit about leadership, perhaps because I was with management and key decision-makers working on this topic at one of our clients yesterday.
This client of ours (like many other companies) is going through perhaps the most significant change in their business. About three months ago they experienced a decrease in their sales of about 30%.
As you can imagine, the changes that will have to be made will rock the boat in a very powerful way.
They hired us to talk about leadership in times of change and how to support and motivate the structures to move all in the same direction.
I must confess that all this made me think.
Thinking about the situation of most companies in the world and the main barriers they currently face when facing the changes they have to make to survive the current new economic paradigm.
Many of our companies need more leadership.
Not that it is the people’s fault, but in the past years, our concerns were not “leadership training or development.”
The current economic situation should not be seen as good or bad. Instead, it should be seen as another change that the market presents us with, to which companies must react, leading their people to consider this new reality. But, even so, we do not know what the future will bring us.
The phrase “the crisis always presents an opportunity” is already a bit old-fashioned.
In my opinion, yes, but it ends up being like a song that is in fashion and that we listen to so much on the radio that we become saturated with.
Companies and organizations have always had good and bad moments.
This is nothing new. What always made the difference in their survival was the ability of their leaders to motivate, inspire, and lead their people to the new paradigms that had to be implemented.
Now, how can all this be done?
How can I show my teams and their leaders that leaving their comfort zone is possible, if not essential, for survival?
In our opinion, breaking down people’s internal barriers is necessary.
We all have some internal limitations, which in most cases are not real, but which prevent us from being better leaders, team leaders, directors, and sometimes even “people.”
One of the things we usually do in our Leadership Training programs is to use exercises that are a little different from the usual and then make a parallel with the company’s environment in various aspects.
We discovered a few years ago that if we can show people through simple exercises, they can achieve much more than they think possible. We can also transpose that reality into their business world.
Exercises like breaking boards, walking on hot coals, and bending an arrow with your throat are a little more out of the box. But they allow us to show that the limits we think we have are only in our heads.
What we find time and time again is that when a person gets through one of these exercises, internally, the following change takes place:
“If this, which I thought impossible, was so simple to achieve, what other things do I have in my life, company, team, that I was never able to achieve because I was never even willing to accept that it was possible?”
The leadership process often involves the need to lead by example, go ahead, and be the first.
And this is precisely what we want to show people that it is possible.
The leadership process in a company has some critical components.
Many of the leaders we know have severe deficiencies in several areas that affect their ability to direct and lead in an undeniable way.
A leader must have the ability to understand how the people he leads on his team function. How can he communicate more effectively with each of them? Yes, because, in most cases, it’s about just that.
Touching each of the people you work with on an individual rather than a collective level.
Not that you don’t have to work on the group dynamics that you create and have to manage, but ultimately it’s about touching each one at their core.
The different people we have in our team do not
- motivate themselves in the same way;
- lead the same way;
- control each other in the same way.
Do you see a pattern here?
Of course, you do. The leader should often adapt to each person he leads, not the other way around.
In our “The New Art of Leading” programs, that’s why we show companies’ decision-makers how different people’s heads work, how it is most effective to lead a person one way or another, even when we select one of the team members for a task or in the way we delegate what has to be done.
A good leader has to have the ability to understand the people he works with at a deeper level than usual.
In leadership, there are two components that are fundamental to work on:
- The leader as a person, at the level of his personal development
- His ability to lead the team at the level of leadership techniques and processes
If we don’t work these two components simultaneously, the leadership process is often lame.
I can have a technically excellent leader in the way he delegates and controls his people, which, in everyday situations, is enough, but when the company faces problems out of the ordinary, what happens?
The relational component that should be used to understand the psychology behind each situation and how humanly people are affected by the change is not there.
And a lot of the time, the leadership process that was used before no longer works as it used to.
What about in your company? Do you think your leadership is FIRE-proof?
Also published on Medium.