I'm coming late to this topic I guess, but a couple of friends have recently been dragooned into participation in 'leadership' training by their employers.
The courses, from what I was told, were high on affect and light on actionable content.
So, what would be the 'actionable content' on leadership?
I find John Adair's triad of Team, Individual and Task useful, and Jans' model of Representing (role model), Relating (the 'supportive' people manager) and Running (the team). Good in an Army context, but needs to be broken down into civilian life.
So, what is 'leadership' and what are its dimensions.
Firstly, 'leading' is one of the activities of a manager. A manager has formal authority to manage a business or activity unit to achieve its mission. This covers people, purpose and production.
One of the limbs to the manager's activity is influencing people to confidently achieve their goals. How?
1. Managing the context: this involves providing information, judgement and advocacy for the unit to direct and guide staff to understand the strategy and deliver the mission.
2. Coaching staff: ensuring the right match between job and person, with a good (this varies greatly) mix of relevant challenge and routine maintenance at the limits, with the core job well defined and connected to the mission with clarity and sufficient precision to enable goals to be achieved (providing necessary resources is a component of managing, along side the 'leading' component).
3. Managed genuineness. This doesn't mean a warts and all expose. We are talking context-relevant genuineness. Honest and sufficiently open with staff and colleagues, to enable frank (and polite) conversations that honour others and self to produce mission outcomes.
What 'leaders' don't say:
- 'don't bring me problems, bring me solutions' [sometimes you need to work up an approach with the person to help them come to new experiences]
- 'you've got to step up' [if 'stepping up' is not happening, check your own behaviour and demonstrated attitude]
- 'it's your baby, you fix it' [no, a team exists for mutual effectiveness, use the team both to build capability and support development - sometimes its a team of two: the manager and the staff member]
Finally, the core job of the leader: drive out fear. One of Demings 14 rules.