The power of leading from within
Guest post by Nikki Fogden-Moore
Engaging leadership is born to some and learned by others. Whether you’re a CEO, a senior manager or an entrepreneur, the skill in managing change and nurturing accountability throughout your organisation is to ensure you have the Business Vitality leadership trifecta.
- Lead from Within
- Lead by Example
- Lead Others
In my experience working with CEOs and entrepreneurs over the past 15 years, no matter what size of business, these three pillars of true leadership build trust, create unity and empower others. It’s not just a matter of having vision and giving direction, it’s showing an authentic connection to the why and engaging teams at all levels along the way.
1. Leading From Within
There’s an art to running a sustainable, well performing company of any size. Creating a positive and lasting culture shift in any organisation requires strategy, vision and a strong action plan - leading from the top down. It does not mean you have to be an expert in all areas of business. However it does mean you need to be connected to the strategy and applied your own experience. Great leaders continue to learn and hone their skills, keep informed and look for fresh ideas. They test out their theory, do their research and believe in the plans they are putting in place. Ask questions, get informed and ask yourself “am I willing to do this as well”. Have you walked the talk?
2. Leading by Example
It’s not the office walls, the plaque outside or the stationery you have your logo on — it’s the people factor. More importantly it’s the leader factor. Great leaders demonstrate the change they want to see and engage their teams and company by leading by example, before they lead others. If you do not walk the talk and demonstrate by example with consistency and integrity, then how can you expect those that work with you, and/or for you to do the same. This is especially imperative in cross division engagement and team cohesiveness. Middle and upper management have the power to lead by example if they can leave the fear of “job theft” and being shown up aside and learn the art of authentic leadership and recognition.
Know your strengths, identify productive alliances and show open communication with your management and executive team. With your direct reports - share your why, show the journey and practice what you preach.
3. Leading others.
When we’ve truly lead from within and lead by example, we have a clear platform to genuinely lead others. This builds trust and credibility. I like to call it earning your stripes. People will follow leaders who truly believe in the principles and best practice they are handing down. Ask yourself, what it will take to roll out the new culture or process? Have you tried and tested the roadmap with your senior team and know the ‘why’ with clarity and conviction. Plan your roll out and the buy-in. How can you make change, growth and development as seamless as possible, recognised as crucial and get accountability at all levels - by ensuring you have a plan on how you are going to lead others.
- stay connected to this initiative and monitoring it’s progress
- get feedback and navigating roadblocks efficiently
- empower others to implement the changes required
As a CEO do a chemistry check. Are your executive team truly on board and communicating with clarity and conviction. Where are the roadblocks. Are the new policies clearly demonstrated and backed up by examples from senior decision makers?
The ultimate step as a manager or leader, is recognising your actions speak louder than words. Do you truly believe in the merits and demonstrate this with consistency and lead by example? This element of leadership applies to all projects and at home just as much as in the business. When we find a way to practice what we preach and share experiences with others in ways they can find it relevant and applicable the results can be amazing. Think of the leaders you admire and the natural ability they have to be visionary, demonstrate their conviction and inspire others to follow their lead. Something powerful happens when change from within is combined with leading from within - a sense of personal accountability and experience can create connection and engagement across all levels of an organisation. It usually, without fail starts from the top down.
Great leaders don’t tell you what to do, they show you how it’s done (Anon)
Nikki Fogden-Moore specialises in coaching high achievers to bring business and personal vitality to life. She runs tailored corporate vitality programs, Boardroom Retreats(TM) , writes regularly for several business magazines, is the head trainer for Women’s Health and Fitness Magazine and has been running leadership and private retreats for over a decade internationally. Her new book VITALITY will be available internationally in November 2015.You can reach her on firstname.lastname@example.org or www.thevitalitycoach.com.au Her podcast is The Vitality Coach is free on iTunes and downloaded in over 80 Countries.