Breaking the Rules of Leadership

Leadership has more to do with people than with the nature of the endeavour to which it is applied.

Leaders need to believe three things

  • We are in this world to make a difference

  • -You cannot get anywhere unless you know two things

    • – Where you are now

    • – Where you are trying to get to

  • What separates a great business from another is one thing – the people, it is the people in companies that make them great.

    A recent survey research has shown that employers believe that more than 50% of employees lack the motivation to keep learning or improving.

  • 4 in 10 people are unable to work co-operatively
  • Only 19% of entry level applicants have adequate self-discipline for their jobs

Leaders are no longer commanders who rule by force or by fear – though we find many in positions of power who attempt to control their organisations in this way

The most effective leaders, those who contribute most strongly to the creation of such high-performance climates, are those who:-

  • Have absolute clarity about their purpose and priorities
  • Know what the role boundaries are among members of the leadership group
  • Build leadership at all levels of the organisation
  • Promote high standards and have high expectations of all staff
  • Manage staff performance with fairness and integrity

Leaders today must think, reason, sense, understand, feel and act with integrity. This is the only way that they can create the environment in which others can perform at the highest levels. And this is what the most effective leaders do. This means that leaders at all levels must provide personal and organisational leadership.

The leadership journey can only find its true destination if the traveller has the level of self-awareness to enable a realistic understanding of the likely response to a variety of situations to be encountered. Only then will the prospective leader have the wherewithal to manage themselves along the ay or to understand the people they meet. This combination of self-awareness, self-management, and social awareness then prepares the ground to enable the person to manage the relationships with others.

Emotionally intelligent leadership is a far cry from the kind of personal dominance prevalent in the past, an is not reliant on manipulation, threat or punishment, neither is it ‘warm and fuzzy’ to the extent that it kills performance with kindness.

Such an approach to leadership is based on the misguided assumption that the best way to get performance from people is to create harmony, to keep people happy, to deal with their personal needs and look after their feelings when they do not perform to expectations – because ‘they feel bad enough knowing they have failed’. The impact of this style, however, is that people believe the leader does not have the strength to make tough decisions, that they play favourites, that you can get away with anything if you have a good story. As a result people do not know where they stand, and ultimately, will find their work unrewarding.

The best leaders focus their thinking on helping people feel energised, clear about their responsibilities, and focussed on the business target and their progress towards it.

Believing that strategy can only be achieved through people they:

    • Articulate and operationalise as clear a sense of direction as possible for the organisation
    • Set the target and elicit staff perceptions on the best way to hit it
    • Sell the vision, describing the target in terms of the organisations, and their own potential for success
    • Set performance standards and hold everyone accountable for meeting them – they do not tolerate mediocrity

Staff contentment and satisfaction follow then from the knowledge that their jobs have been well done.

In summary Leaders :

  • Exert strong and versatile leadership, adapt to the needs of their staff, with particular strengths in raising individual capability and promoting individual role clarity

  • They need to think how the influence of leadership can raise standards and how to link rewards (recognition and praise rather than monetary reward) to performance more strongly


    Effective teams

  • Build shared commitment
  • Build shared skills
  • Build task appropriate coordination strategies

A Team is best when it:

  • Is a real team
  • Has a compelling direction for its work
  • Has an enabling structure that facilitates rather than impedes team work
  • Operates within a supportive organisational structure
  • Has available ample expert coaching in teamwork

The Spiritual Domain:

  • A purpose beyond self
  • Restraint
  • Modesty
  • Tenacity
  • Innocence
  • Curiosity and compassion
  • Emotional maturity
  • Courage
  • Extreme personal humility

Leaders in effective organisations have a constellation of characteristics identified as

  • Hope (unwarranted optimism)
  • Enthusiasm
  • And energy

It is not necessary to be born with these qualities, a leaders vitality can be sapped or enhanced by the conditions under which he or she lives. Successful leaders tend to engage others with their energy and in turn are energised by the activities and accomplishments of the group.

Effective leaders have 5 action and mind sets that they combine:

  • A strong sense of moral purpose
  • An understanding of the dynamics of change
  • An emotional intelligence as they build relationships
  • A commitment to developing and sharing new knowledge
  • And a capacity for coherence making (enough coherence on the edge of chaos to still be creative)

Four styles:

  • visionary,
  • coaching,
  • affiliative,
  • democratic

are associated more with a positive effect on climate and performance and leaders have to be good at all four styles, drawing on them as needed according to the personalities and situations.

To be only visionary, or only democratic is a liability.

Pacesetting (try to keep up with me) and commanding (do as I say) leaders may have a short-term positive impact under certain conditions, but they fail sooner rather than later because they demotivate people – they do not develop capacity and commitment.

Effective work teams operate in ways that build shared commitment, collective skills, and task appropriate coordination strategies – not mutual antagonisms and trails of failure from which little is learned.

The likelihood of effectiveness is increased when a team

    • Is a real team rather than a team only in name
    • Has a compelling direction for its work
    • Has an enabling structure that facilitates rather than impedes teamwork
    • Operates within a supportive organisational context
    • Has available ample expert coaching in teamwork

Major attributes of Leadership

  • Unwavering courage
  • Self control
  • A keen sense of justice
  • Definiteness of decision
  • Definiteness of plans
  • The habit of doing more than paid for
  • A pleasing personality
  • Sympathy and understanding
  • Mastery of detail
  • Willingness to assume full responsibility
  • Cooperation