Technology, innovation, and global influence (whether you like it or not) are accelerating the need for organizations to get and stay ahead of their competition. For any organization to evolve, attract the best people, and provide the best products and services, their leaders must evolve too. Leaders who don’t keep up will inevitably be overtaken and left behind.
Take for example, the evolution of cell phones. There are too many leaders today that could be characterized as flip phone leaders. One of the few television shows I watch is NCIS and their leader, Jethro Gibbs. He refuses to transition from a flip phone to a Smartphone. Even though it’s a cultural component of the series that defines Jethro’s personality, one can’t help but notice two things:
1. The frustration by his team and his direct report with not being able to reach him when they need him is compounded and elevated on a continuum.
2. The extra work required for him to keep up or stay ahead elevates his frustration with his team and his direct report, also on a continuum.
I’ve noted often here on my Blog, my Video Broadcastsand my Podcast, about how fast our environment is changing and about the Character and Behavior traits and competencies needed for leaders to keep up. In keeping with that theme, here are what I feel are the top five (5) of those traits.
1. Be professionally consistent. Identifying the organization’s purpose and core values and living those out daily is at a premium. When people understand what’s expected in terms of performance and behavior, they align with the culture, reinforce, and reflect that same consistency.
2. Have an unwavering commitment to the right behavior. When the leader is driven by the organization’s mission and core values, the result is a culture that will consistently force those who don’t align to leave. An important recognition here is this also applies to external stakeholders. There are times when a leader has to say no to partnering with other individuals or organizations because they don’t align culturally. Doing the right thing is at a premium.
3. Be a 360-degree thinker. It’s at a premium for leaders to keep up with shifts and trends in the external environment. I refer often to the need for leaders to keep their heads on a swivel, scanning the environment on a continuum in order to pivot in real time to events that require an immediate adjustment internally. It’s also why I note the need to remain strategic in thinking, while shifting to being adaptive in culture.
4. Be intellectually versatile. Leaders who can draw from a broad range of knowledge and experiences are better equipped to anticipate and lead, especially when change or transformation is required. One of the traits I find most lacking in many leaders is the desire to continue learning. A leader highly committed to valuing their personal and professional network, having a collaborative mindset, and willing to be a feedback portal for knowledge and constructive perspective, will inevitably become more adept intellectually and emotionally.
5. Be authentic and transparent. Rare is the leader today, who has a healthy rather than toxic ego. Being an elite leader is at a premium. Leaders who model a consistent authenticity in every respect (especially with telling the truth), not only inspire followers to model the same, they promote organic cultures that are change-friendly, able to pivot in real time and will always focus on doing the right thing.
It’s imperative that leaders continue to develop their mindset as well as their Character & Behavior competencies in order to stay ahead of the accelerating pace of change. These mindsets and behaviors are the foundation for elite leadership.
By going through a structured leadership development process, leaders can build the competencies necessary to create continual innovation and growth in their organizations.
Truth be told, this is a must for leaders moving into 2020 in order to keep from becoming that outdated flip phone.