Confined by constructs of an organization. Limited job descriptions. Rigid ways of handling situations. Status-Quos.
Being in a leadership position is more than being a box in the organization structure, or having a fancy title. Modern day leadership demands us to open up, engage in new ideas, new ways of doing things and experimenting with them. The traditional concept of having associations, communities helped leaders to network and interact with each other to gain fresh insights. Social media has made it even easier. Today, we have limitless power to engage in communities, gain access to ideas with single click and communicate with anyone anywhere on the globe. The world has just opened up.
Opportunities favor prepared minds. Here are a few things leaders can do to be prepared and stay open to new ideas and constantly explore:
Offer Strong Reasoning: When you have an idea, ask yourself “Why?”. People follow those who clearly know the “Why” aspect of their decisions. Offer strong reasoning to create strong influence. Part of good reasoning is to challenge the assumptions. Policies of any organization are based on a set of assumptions. When those assumptions are constructively challenged, new ideas emerge.
Engage in Constant Learning: One of the biggest challenges for a leader is to stay on top of the game, to bring different thinking on board and constantly raise the learning bar. Social Media, online communities and offline networking are some of the great ways to learn. Writing a blog is a great way to document your lessons. It also helps you validate your thinking, when others read and comment. You can witness your own thinking after you have written.
Imagining and Reflecting: Applying knowledge in a business environment requires the understanding of context. Imagination, visualizing and setting time apart to think are two most important tools to understand the context and map actions for a long term difference. Thinking is a tool that opens up our minds. When mind is open and receptive, it absorbs the knowledge.
Deciding and Acting: Leadership is all about results. Quick and timely decisions enable people to swing into action. With a constant focus on taking right decisions, leaders can really open up to alternate ideas that work.
Failing and Re-aligning: Failures are stepping stones to success. I recently heard someone saying, there is no such thing as failure. There are only lessons. Making mistakes is fine as long as we don’t repeat the same ones again. Failures are important for success, and the idea is to consolidate learning from every failure.
Enabling and Serving: Knowing how people work is crucial in leadership positions. When you constantly enable others succeed, you gain better understanding of human motivations and ways to constructively use them for better results. When a leader leads with a mindset to serve others, they become more open and receptive to richer insights.
If you are a leader, what strategies have worked for you to stay current, open and receptive to new insights? I would love to know.
Have a Fantastic Friday!
Photo Courtesy: Flickr Photostream of Artistic Rhythms