Effective leaders do not leave others in the dust.

Effective leadership
Part 4

By: Dee Rivers

Effective leaders do not leave others in the dust.

“Module Two focuses on building leaders around you,” says Shea. “Successful leaders need leaders at every level.”

This module presents three imperatives: Coaching, Helping, and Fixing. It shows leaders how to create an environment to build (coach) other leaders, hence multiplying their impact.

As with any team, choosing the right people is paramount.

Sometimes, never having had an opportunity, a potentially fine leader does not even see the possibility in him or herself; the coach-leader will recognize it, every time.

Critical to building the right leaders is empowering them, and effective communication, with its keen impact on performance, is key. That means: ask meaningful questions.

Consider this Deputy Minister in an Asian homeland of brittle-cold winters and steppe forests which, since antiquity, has been racked with rebellion. His life has been backlit by battle fires. His staff simmers with diverse heritages. It was easy, ingrained even, for him to maintain a leadership style of, well, a dictator.

His TLD experience left him speaking in exclamations. “I am not a dictator anymore! I bring in people and ask them what they think about a problem, to see if they have any ideas! And now I really listen to what they are saying!

So, here is a former dictator-leader who learned how to ask the right questions of the people who work for him and to hear their ideas. And that, he says, was the game changer: “We learned to listen, to listen in order to understand.”  

The listening lesson is often the penultimate insight before a leader grasps the importance, significance, and deep meaning of releasing responsibility and authority in order to empower his emergent team of leaders to taste success.

When that happens, their leader has come to trust them, and they know it. Such acknowledgement of their excellent abilities becomes a driving force to -- what else? More excellence.

Accountable leaders first hold themselves accountable.

Module 2 closes with the important topic of conflict, a labyrinth of lurking emotional volatility with the ability to wipe out consensus with the efficiency of a carpet bomb. 

Since Utopia is non-existent here and humankind is so … human … even within the best evolved, highly transformed leadership teams, conflict can and will, at some point, rear its gnarly head.

“Fixing what is wrong is the last content of Module 2,” says Professor Shea, “and involves taking steps toward peace” -- which is the path of choice for a peaceable leader rather than an intellectual brawl, with contenders all swollen with righteous indignation and ego.

First, certainly, is to recognize that there is conflict, acknowledge it, then move toward a peaceful resolution. With cultural differences about what constitutes conflict and how to respond to it, getting said peaceful resolution moving across a diverse emotional landscape requires adroit leadership.  

A figurative or literal round table for team input of grievances and feedback is an equalizing place to begin, with a “he-who-holds-the-talking-stick speaks” mannerly approach to taking turns talking. Techniques for staying on-point, for avoiding negative, insulting, or criticizing messaging, how to offer constructive feedback, and other TLD fair-play resolution tactics are components of Module 2.

All told, when words are exhausted and feelings wrung out, the process is about one dignified act: Letting go and letting forgiveness fix what is wrong.

It really does take a team.

“Module 3 is all about building results-oriented teams,” says Shea. And make no mistake, effective teams do stand out. They enjoy mutual trust and collaborative decision-making. There’s mutual accountability, thus they accomplish quantumly more than even the most effective individual.

In other words -- community happens, and it happens when the team becomes a family, with their own cluster of compassion.

And as a best-case family unit, trust flourishes, each member’s skill is employed. There is direction, re-enforced during spirited meetings, leading to productive outcomes.

Decision-making is not dictatorial, but democratic, which unifies and strengthens the team family. There is a problem? Bring it to the table and the team family will solve it together.

Because they agree on goals, their results depend on mutual accountability, which is all about staying goal-focused. It is a mind-set that leads to transformational change.

Expand its leadership base and a country grows stronger.

In an exhausted country, where a week-long TLD course just completed, an attending leader committed to transformation wrote, “I believe your project is crucial, and it is a great gift to our people. I can confidently tell you that I and my people needed to have this training long ago.”

The examination of leadership has been a force and a folly for thousands of years. Does leadership come from nature or nurture? Do people choose leadership or does leadership choose people? Is it the environment or genes that determine a leader?

You, dear reader, now have insight into the TLD paradigm for teaching transformational leadership, what it means and what it can accomplish.

This is an opportunity to help support an emerging leader to enter the path of transformational leadership in hurting countries. Will you help?

“Best leadership is relationship and positive change.” -- Michael Shea

Look for part 5 of this 6 part series on February 16, 2016.