What are great leaders truly committed to? This is a central issue for organizations looking to thrive or just survive in the years to come. It’s also a key issue for companies that are actively building a leadership pipeline, or for leaders who are expected to accomplish many different things each day.
Some leadership models feature dozens of specific techniques a leader is expected to master; however the essential question is: what core commitments underlie all those techniques and actions? The five commitments outlined in this article can be considered the “source code” for the behaviors and actions of effective leaders. They are the foundation of powerful leadership.
A distinction between what is said about commitments and what is actually done is important here. The concept of a commitment means it shows up in action, not just words. This can be the difference between the “talk” and the “walk.”
These commitments are also vital in our rapidly changing times. Developments in our world, including technology, globalization, and new work values have transformed the relationship between leaders and those whom they hope to lead.
So how is leadership defined in today’s world? Consider this definition: “Being a catalyst for new ways of thinking, being and acting.” Leaders may have positional authority or none at all, but exercise leadership through their actions. Old mental models around leadership are fading, and new ideas about what it takes to lead in the world today are taking hold. The commitments reflect this reality.
Effective Leadership revolves around your ability to INFLUENCE people to follow your Lead; Leaders who compel compliance through CONTROL are called Dictators!
In this new reality, leaders exist at all levels, including where you sit. Instead of leadership thought of as reserved for the few at the top, today anyone can lead from anywhere. Look at what you actually do each day and ask what kinds of commitments your actions reveal.
You are first and foremost your own leader.
Any job applicant today can expect questions about passion. What is he or she truly passionate about and therefore committed to? The same is true for leadership.
What are the real commitments? They are:
• To the self – how much you work on developing yourself as a human being, to be the best leader you can be. In fact, it is self awareness that is the first major step toward becoming truly committed.
• To people – how much you really focus on connecting with those around you in order to work effectively with them.
• To the organization – how much you are devoted to the intentions and performance of the place where you work so that you show up with maximum energy and conviction.
• To the truth – how much you tell and invite the truth, even when it is hard, in order to keep yourself, others and the organization on a right course.
• To leadership – how much you answer a call to lead and choose to engage in proven, effective leadership behaviors.
These commitments operate most effectively in an atmosphere of invite and enroll, not command and control. There may be some who wonder what this type of business environment has to do with commitment.
Here is the point: by embodying these commitments, the leader opens the door to a greater flow of information, ideas and creativity that can more powerfully motivate others.
I salute the Leader in each of you.