Quick reminders about leadership

Here are five quick reminders for busy leaders:

  1. Be a leader
    • Leaders embody the values of the organisation in what they do and how they do it
    • Leaders need to focus their attention inside and outside the organisation and on present operations and future possibilities
    • They deliver six roles: visionary, strategist, politician, fundraiser, coach and change agent
    • Leaders have to gain the trust and respect of the people they lead
    • Leaders have to be open and they have to have honest conversations.

  2. Mobilise around the mission
    • Great leaders have a clear vision for the future of their organisation
    • Missions are used by leaders to motivate people
    • Mission statements are short, precise and distinctive
    • Leaders ensure missions are omnipresent, used and reviewed.

  3. Focus people on results
    • Planning and performance review are the most powerful lever leaders have to drive performance
    • Leaders ensure that strategies, operational plans and individual work plans are tightly integrated
    • Leaders ensure that plans are closely scrutinised before being approved
    • Regular performance reviews are used to hold managers to account
    • Boards enhance the quality of planning and performance review
    • Leaders also hold managers accountable for costs and expect departments to be managed on ‘bottom line’ performance.

  4. Build a small focused team
    • Leaders create line reporting arrangements that enable them to lead
    • The top team tends to have between three and five members
    • Chief operating officer posts are increasingly prevalent
    • Top teams meet regularly and hold regular retreats
    • Trust, confidence and excellent communication are the hallmarks of an effective top team.

  5. Invest leadership and management development
    • Leading organisations are taking many different approaches to leadership and management development
    • Leading organisations get all their managers together regularly
    • Leaders invest in their own development by attending courses, reading extensively, using coaches and networking with other leaders.

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From Managing at the Leading Edge, Mike Hudson, Directory of Social Change, 2003.