The Art of Strengths Coaching

L is for The Leadership Package

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Imagine that you are considering taking a leadership role. What kind of leader do you want to be?

If you do take the role, how can you manage the pluses and minuses involved? Are you prepared to accept the whole leadership package? Let’s explore these themes.

Clarifying the kind of
leader you want to be

The first step is to decide what kind of leader you want to be. We often think of people leaders. But there are also creative leaders, thought leaders and other kinds of leaders.

Maria Montessori, for example, was a pioneering leader in education. She showed how it is possible to help students to go through a process of absorption, adventure and achievement.

Mahatma Gandhi led campaigns of non-violence. He believed it was important to: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Penny Brohn created a remarkable legacy. She helped to give birth to The Bristol Cancer Help Centre. The work done there helped many people to develop their inner strength and improve the quality of lives. It is now called Penny Brohn Cancer Care.

Wangari Maathai, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, showed how to improve the planet by personally planting over one million trees. She acted as a positive model and inspired many people around the world.

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Some people lead teams to success. Some show a better way of doing things by building successful prototypes. Some introduce a new philosophy – a new paradigm – that provides a revolutionary way of looking at the world.

Some leaders combine all these elements. They start by sharing a new philosophy. They then lead superb teams and build prototypes that show how people can achieve future success.

Different people also follow different leadership styles to make things happen. Looking around, you will find many books and models about leadership.

Whilst many of these models are helpful, it can also be useful to clarify your own successful leadership style. You can then complement this style with other skills in order to deliver success.

Bearing this in mind, it can be useful to follow your preferred style. Below is a link to a piece that invites you to do an exercise on this theme.

http://www.thepositiveapproach.info/l-following-successful-leadership-style/

The exercise invites you to do three things: a) To describe specific examples of when you have led things successfully; b) To describe what you did right then; c) To look for any recurring patterns and describe what may be your successful leadership style.

Let’s return to the first theme we explored. What kind of leader do you want to be? Do you want to be a people leader, creative leader, thought leader or some other kind of leader?

Looking at your preferred leadership style, what do you want to do and deliver? Do you want to lead business teams, build prototypes, create pioneering TV programmes, share a positive philosophy or whatever?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe the specific kind of leader you want to be.

Describe the specific things you want to do and deliver as a leader.

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Clarifying the pluses and minuses
involved in the leadership package

People are often attracted to becoming leaders. Before stepping into that role, however, it can be useful for them to consider both the upsides and downsides.

Good leadership calls for making good decisions. Why? The higher a person gets in an organisation, the greater the implications of their decisions.

Here are some of the upsides and downsides when, for example, running an organisation.

The pluses may include being able:

To clarify and communicate the organisation’s purpose, principles and picture of success.  

To create a positive culture in which motivated people can achieve peak performance.

To earn a good salary and grow as a person.

To enjoy the adrenaline and excitement involved in leading an organisation.

To make sure the organisation keeps delivering today’s business whilst also building tomorrow’s business in order to achieve ongoing success.

The potential minuses may include:

To sometimes feel lonely because nobody else may be privy to the implications of the decisions you are making.

To make decisions that have implications for all the stakeholders – the owners, employees, customers and society.

To proactively manage the key stakeholders – such as head office – to keep them satisfied and stop them interfering.

To perhaps work a minimum of 12 hours a day, plus weekends.

To possibly see your health suffer.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. Bearing in mind the leadership role you want to take, it invites you to do the following things.

Describe the potential pluses of being this kind of leader.

Describe the potential minuses of being this kind of leader.

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Clarifying how to build on the
pluses and minimise the minuses

People make choices all the time. They make decisions about their attitude, actions and what they want to achieve that day. Each choice does, of course, have consequences.

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Good leaders spend much of their time making such decisions. They start by focusing on clarity – the real results to achieve. They then explore the possible routes they can follow to achieve these results, together with the consequences of each option.

Taking time out, they explore the other potential creative solutions. Settling on their chosen route, they clarify how to build on the pluses and minimise the minuses. They then do whatever is required to achieve the desired results.

Good decision makers also go through a similar process before taking a new role. Looking at the upsides and downsides, they explore their desire to take the role.

They may rate their motivation, for example, on a scale 0 – 10. Anything below 7/10 is a danger signal. Looking ahead, they explore how they can maintain or improve their motivation.

They then make a decision. Do they really want to take the role? If so, they make plans to build on the pluses and minimise the minuses. They are then more likely to be able to do satisfying work.

If you wish, try tackling the final exercise on this theme. Looking at everything involved in the leadership role, this invites you to do the following things.

Describe the specific things you can do to build on the pluses and minimise the minuses.

Describe the extent to which you want to take the role. Do this on a scale 0 – 10.

Describe the specific things you can do to maintain or improve your motivation.

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