Leadership in Times of Turbulence

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Leadership Turbulence
Leadership continues to evolve during times of uncertainty. Leaders need to have the courage to address the many business challenges facing them every day, and to learn to leverage new competencies to be able to have an impact on desired business outcomes. They need higher levels of self-awareness that can help enhance their ability to clearly communicate the company purpose and direction, and to drive consistency in the organization’s cultural values.

The success factors for leaders undergoing transformation include:

The ability to build authentic trust and loyalty.

  • The need to demonstrate an unprecedented level of transparency and visibility. 
  • The need to show integrity and the ability to turn promises into reality.

The ability to clearly communicate and enhance connective relationships. 

  • The need to communicate openly with factual accuracy. 
  • The need to build on collaboration and accountability. 

The ability to drive a dynamic and integrated strategic long-term vision.

  • The need to assemble a foundation for futuristic thinking. 
  • The need to balance short-term goals with realistic long-term objectives.

The ability to create an exciting and satisfying work environment.

  • The need to appreciate innovative imagination and dedicated work behaviors. 
  • The need to support a learning and development cultural mindset. 

The ability to establish personal leadership presence and use nonverbal behaviors.

  • The need to use enthusiastic leadership by embracing values and beliefs. 
  • The need to have credibility based on flexibility and personal energy.

Besides these many desired capabilities, a leader’s learning path needs to focus on three primary components: communicate openly, build relationships, and influence the future. 


Communicate Openly 

Leaders need to be great connectors and communicators, always authentically focused on others and on the information that they are providing. Leaders who communicate effectively propel organizations to produce incredible and successful results. They can influence organizational cultures by being creative in their approaches and inspiring in their messages. Conversations and the sharing of information needs to have a certain level of flexibility based on company situations. Leaders are continuously building relationships, showing genuine interest in others, and providing extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. They are connecting with employees by utilizing transparency specific to their messages and with their audiences, the message receivers.

There are three ways to improve and enhance leadership communications. One is encouraging feedback. Check how messages are being received by requesting feedback and evaluating how the information was interpreted. Gaining constructive and honest responses is a positive framework for building engagement and internal connections.

Another is listening actively and effectively. Provide an environment of support that encourages the ability to listen for creative ideas beyond the facts. Both the leader and the message receivers need to be open-minded so that the total perspective to information can be gained. Active listening is done by both physical and mental messaging.

The final way is reducing barriers and problems. Leaders need to try to reduce misunderstanding. Words need to be clear, and there must be an attempt to remove biases, defensiveness, stress, and ego. Perceptions and preconceived attitudes can be distracting. 

Build Relationships 

Leadership relationships and getting employees and teams connected with one another is based on the right chemistry and finding ways to remove silos in the business environment. Dynamic interactions and cross-functional support can serve as the foundation for building networks, using different thinking perspectives, and deepening the understanding of the markets, customers, and industries as a whole. Common ground, similarities, and comfort at all functional levels can help serve as a way to enhance strategies for the future, and as a way to connect people through trust and values.

Leadership relationships need to be flexible and able to address business and organizational complexities and challenges. A successful leader needs tremendous self-awareness to help learn new managerial approaches and define creative actions that can lead to growth and progressive contributions. Decisions on complex issues can affect information flow within teams and groups, resulting in positive outcomes.

Leaders foster strong internal business relationships and encourage proactive connections between managers and employees. They build strong teams and collaborative groups through trust that is focused on behaviors. These relationships are based on many components, including soft skills such as compassion and integrity. Relationship-driven leaders practice and utilize key critical success factors to enhance their effectiveness and their desired outcomes. Leaders also need to foster external relationships and constantly enhance connections outside the organization. They use all of the competencies already described, such as effective communications, team connections, time management, appreciation, and active listening. Deepening customer connections is based on focus and collaboration. As with all dynamic leaderships, authenticity will drive organizational growth and changes, especially because it is built on compassion, connections, and enhanced presence. 

Influence the Future 

Leadership is based on the ability to influence and affect an organization in an inspiring way. It is the capability to drive extraordinary results as well as business outcomes by influencing the minds and hearts of the entire employee population. Being an influencing leader takes passion and conviction to be able to gain employee commitment and create high levels of engagement. It is a way of developing followers that are empowered to be leaders themselves, and these individuals become skilled relationship builders, influencers, and drivers of business performance. Effective and dynamic leaders are continuously growing and evolving their own personal strengths, as well as supporting the development of all employees. These leaders are maximizing team capabilities to help enhance employee engagement with the organization and with the defined goals and mission. Basically, the authentic influencing leader is able to create influencing followers, individuals that take charge, speak up, and make sure that the vision and direction of the company are “heard” both internally and externally.

Finally, an interactive influencing leader is a strong negotiator, and an individual who can build consensus. These leaders can enlist support and assistance from others, driving a cooperative environment that is based on a unified sense of purpose. Creative solutions are always an outcome to key decisions and direction, building harmony and agreement with the organizational population and other leader individuals. These authentic and interactive influencing leaders are skilled at coaching and developing the abilities of others to be strong contributors to the company. And, there is a natural growth of relationships as well as positive personal connections.

About the Author
Paul Fein is an organizational development consultant and certified life coach. As the the managing leader and director of The IDD Leadership Group, he a develops custom-created management development programs. Connect with Paul on LinkedIn. 
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