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.


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