Leadership is the key ingredient in building a strong, vibrant organizational culture.
We live in a world where leaders are under tremendous pressure. The demands, the expectations and the scrutiny are all greater than ever before. And when we look around, we see leaders not conducting themselves the way they should. The workplace is full of leaders embroiled in bad behavior, incompetence, scandal and corruption.
We are in the midst of a leadership crisis that comes from a lack of accountability, with leaders not fulfilling their part of the leadership contract. They are certainly excited about the promotion, the perks and the job titles that come with a leadership role, but they are often not stepping up to their obligations quite simply because they are not fully aware of what they actually are.
This program aims to clarify these obligations. It will show you the mindset, the skills and the behaviors that you need to adopt to be a truly accountable leader: the one that your organization needs you to be, and the one that your employees deserve.
The 12 Elements of this program
What does it mean to be a leader today?
Many leaders today don’t seem to have a good understanding of what their role means and of the responsibilities that are attached to it. It is important that leaders understand what is expected of them, and that they internalize and live up to these expectations.
What is the leadership contract?
Leaders are usually held to higher standards—it comes with the job. But far too often leaders disappoint their colleagues because they fail to live up to these standards. Why? Because most of the time they are not aware of what they actually signed up for. This is what Vince Molinaro calls the leadership contract.
Do you define yourself as a leader?
Many leaders are not really committed to being leaders because they prefer to stay in the comfort zone of their role as technical expert. But a leader who is not committed in this way will simply not take their leadership role seriously. As a result, they won’t inspire their team and in turn this will erode their team’s own level of engagement. This is why it is crucial that leaders define themselves first and foremost as leaders and that they are ready to do whatever it takes to lead their team effectively.
Are you a deliberate leader?
We often think of great leaders as those who lead others through challenging times that require a heroic effort—the superhero that steps up to save the day. This does happen and leaders do need to lead in times like this. But your leadership is also often tested in the day-to-day moments. It’s important to be an effective leader in these situations too.
Are you clear about your leadership obligations?
Too many leaders are either unaware of or choose to ignore their primary obligations to their organization, their customers, their employees, their stakeholders and the communities in which they do business. If left unchecked, this mindset can lead to corruption, bullying and inappropriate behavior, all of which can have highly negative consequences for everyone concerned.
Do you know about the hard rules of leadership?
Many leaders lack the courage they are expected to have. They avoid some of the tough issues. This makes them weak, which in turn also weakens their team and their company. There are situations in which it is crucial to show courage.
Do you have enough resilience and resolve to be a leader?
It is during the hard times and most challenging situations that one’s leadership really gets tested. There are techniques to pass this test successfully.
Who has your back?
People work at their best when everyone has each other’s back. It creates a high level of trust. It is the responsibility of leaders to create such a culture and to discuss the best way to meet this goal.
Who is your real competition?
Leaders and their teams often lose sight of the fact that the competition is outside the company, not within it. As a result, people are working at cross-purposes with one another, often in silos, department against department. It’s the leader’s responsibility to fight against this mentality and culture and to nurture a collaborative environment.
Do you hold people to high performance standards?
Research shows that that holding yourself and others to high standards of performance is the hallmark of a truly accountable leader. This practice can really set you apart from other leaders.
Earn your right to lead
How leaders approach the next role they are targeting is very telling both about their personality and about their ability to fulfill that role. Some people have such a sense of entitlement that they feel they are owed the role, while others are more humble and try to earn their right to lead. One of these approaches is definitely more successful than the other.
Be aware of your colleagues’ personal struggles
As a leader, one of your responsibilities is to be aware of the personal struggles that some of your people may be experiencing and to try to help them in those situations. There are many ways in which you can fulfill this part of your role.
Vince Molinaro PhD is a strategic advisor, speaker and global expert on leadership accountability and culture change. He travels the world helping organizations transform themselves by building strong leadership cultures with truly accountable leaders at every level. His passion for strong leadership extends to his writing and research, which has featured in some of the world’s leading business publications. He shares his weekly insights on leadership accountability through his Gut Check for Leaders blog (www.theleadershipcontract.com).