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Member Exchange - Leadership Resources

In the Sydney Morning Herald there was an Opinion piece by Jim Bright, professor of career education and development at ACU, discussing getting ahead in your career and leadership. There were some interesting insights. Bright states “If you want to get ahead, work with what is in front of you, not what you think should be in front of you. Great leaders are great improvisers in the sense that they make do…with whatever is at their disposal”. It can be so easy to blame others or external circumstances for your situation – leaders are decisive and get on with it. They take limitations and turn them into opportunities to innovate and collaborate.

Bright also discusses the need to surround yourself with “people who care enough to be critical in a positive way”. If leaders only surround themselves with “yes” people a toxic environment can result as colleagues and staff resent the narrow view and are frustrated with their own inability to make changes. The “yes” people can be reasonably safe, but only for so long. Good leaders need people they can trust, who keep them honest, question, critique and explore opportunities. leaders need to have a vision, but the vision is limited if it can’t be communicated effectively. Effective leaders are hard on themselves in a way that creates growth rather than destruction. Effective leaders are flexible and adaptable enough to seek solutions to challenges and strong enough to hold their vision and include others in their successes.

This article is going to provide some suggested resources that as a mentor or mentee, a leader in your own business, you may find useful and interesting.

As a leader it’s very important to have a grounded assessment of your strengths and areas of challenge. There are many psychometric tools available and if used as a tool, rather than a prescription, very effective to know what strengths you play to and where your areas of growth could be. The list below is just a sample of what’s available – all have similarities and it’s really a matter of personal preference, access and cost…

  • Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) – personality tool
  • – behaviour tool
  • Print – Unconscious Motivators tool
  • Strengths Finder (Tom Rath)
  • Life Styles Indicator (LSI) – underlying thoughts & motivations leading to behaviours
  • Enneagram – personality tool
  • Harrison Assessments – talent management tool

There is a huge spectrum of leadership books on the market. The following list is a small introduction to get you thinking about different leadership elements and approaches. There isn’t one ideal leadership style. Daniel Goleman talks about six main styles of leadership and the need to flex your leadership style muscle to effectively adapt to situations, people and needs.

Just as there isn’t one specific ideal leadership style – no “one size fits all” - there isn’t one ideal leadership tool or resource. The purpose of this article is to whet your appetite to grow your own leadership development, whether you be a mentor or a mentee. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey continues to be a very powerful self-development tool for leaders, especially if you are new to leadership.

The Truth about Trust (in Business), by Vanessa Hall provides practical and anecdotal insights on how to increase results, retention and improve business relationships.

The Five Literacies of Global Leadership by Richard David Hames focussing on authentic leadership in a changing, and frequently challenging time.

Primal Leadership: Realising the Power of Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman who builds on his Emotional Intelligence book and specifically looks at its application to leadership.

The 5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential by John C. Maxwell explains how leadership doesn’t come from a title, but it’s about the ability to inspire and build a team that produces not only results, but also future leaders.

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek. Explores beyond the what and how we do our roles, and delves into the Why – because this is the thing that inspires us and those around us.

Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies by Otto Scharmer and Katrin Kaufer who explore the need for shifting from an “ego-system” focussed on oneself to an eco-system which emphasises the well-being of the whole.

Dialogue: The Art of Thinking Together by William Isaacs. This book, based on over ten years’ research, discusses the value within organisations to use language and listening successfully to build positive cultures.

The Leader's Digest: Timeless Principles for Team and Organization Success by Jim Clemmer is a series of insights and bite-sized briefings on the timeless principles of leading people. Leadership: Sustaining Real Collaboration and Partnership at Work by Gervase R. Bushe who provides interesting and challenging insights into how to build organisational cultures without fear, creating a culture where healthy partnerships and collaboration are organised and sustained.

There are TED talks, journal articles and publications, discussions and debates on television and the internet – too many to list. As a leader you need to be proactive and seek a range of views – test and challenge them because you will only be able to lead authentically if you genuinely believe in the value of a particular approach.

It’s important that leaders continue to grow and are stretched. Networking, conferences, seminars and courses can all provide additional input. Your AIM membership is an excellent place to embed yourself to learning more about leadership. This mentoring program is an excellent means to safely explore and practise different leadership strategies. Mentors, you have a wealth of experience leading, share your stories and what you learnt along the way. Your mentee will benefit from your lived experience.