Remember Your Leadership Disciplines

We are in an age where new information, fads, innovations, trends, and social media flood us each day. In this flurry, it is easy to overlook or forget the simple disciplines which ensure we produce results.

I love the creativity, colour and textures of preparing food. Then there is the delightful experience of eating home cooked food with family and friends. After travel books, recipe books are my most favoured; Yotam Ottolenghi, Heston Blumenthal, Adam Liaw, Ferran Adria, Gilli Basan, and Greg Malouf, and just as many books on Mexican, Moroccan, Turkish, French, and Indian food. I have every Cuisine magazine since 1996. And yet I delight in trying out new recipes and new combinations of ingredients. What works with this is the five disciplines that sit behind good cooking;

  • make sure you have all the ingredients before you begin a dish
  • buy fresh
  • incorporate personal flair
  • keep pantry staple updated and
  • know the vagaries of your oven/stove top.

Similarly with leading. While experimenting and innovating, know your leadership disciplines and stick to them. Know your team’s purpose, and why you exist. Agree what success looks like so you know when you have achieved it.

I often meet leaders and lead teams who struggle to see progress or find their work satisfying. I notice they don’t know the purpose of their team, or the value they add. They don’t have success measures or they have the wrong ones. And they have too many priorities. Why is this? They have forgotten their leadership disciplines.

Four disciplines for leaders include:

  1. Refresh your team’s purpose

    Your purpose can change over time. Contexts shift; a new CEO, repositioned services, new products, innovations, emerging capability deficits, and natural disasters, all influence context. In turn, shifts in context affect shifts in purpose and emphasis of lead teams. Significant goals are achieved and new directions emerge. Leadership teams need to shift and adjust their purpose with this. Stay alert to the shifts in context for your group or organisation and respond by refreshing your purpose and why you are doing what you do.

  2. Re-purpose meetings

    How often are you in meetings which don’t have a clear purpose or you don’t know the outcomes being sought? These meetings drain energy, and are time wasting. With the discipline of beginning each meeting with either ‘the purpose of this meeting is’…..or ‘the outcome of this meeting is……’. Without this, participants can’t make their best contributions.

  3. Have clear expectations

    Your team and staff want your guidance. Staff thrive when expectations are clear. They want to know when they are doing well. They want to give their best. They want you to help remove roadblocks so they can deliver. They want to understand shifts in context, and how this effects them and what they do.

  4. Be human

    Use your personal qualities to lead and create productivity. Friendliness, kindness, helpfulness and simply sharing your experience and expertise through simple anecdotes creates positive relationships. Being aloof, unavailable, critical, impersonal, and being judgmental creates harsh cultures that staff don’t like and they won’t be productive.

What are your leadership disciplines which lead to your group’s success? If you are feeling overwhelmed, struggling to see progress, or finding your work unsatisfying, which of these disciplines might you refresh as you lead?

Diana Jones © June 2018