Have you ever had a leader who did not live up to the same standards they defined? What about a leader who could not hold a person or team accountable? In Episode 22 of the Strategic Insights Podcast, Andrea McOwen and Bob Parks share the two elements that define leadership.
Andrea McOwen: 00:01 Hello and welcome to Strategic Insights, brought to you by Strategic Enhancement Group. I'm Andrea McOwen, President of Strategic Enhancement Group and today I am joined by Bob Parks, our Senior Partner. Hi Bob.
Bob Parks: 00:13 Hi Andrea.
Andrea McOwen: 00:14 It's good to have you here.
Bob Parks: 00:16 Glad to be here.
Andrea McOwen: 00:17 Today we want to share our point of view on leadership. There are a lot of viewpoints on what a leader is and what it takes to be a good leader. Today, we want to share our experience on what it takes to be an effective leader. So Bob, let's start talking about the purpose of a leader.
Bob Parks: 00:33 While there are many definitions around the purpose of a leader, the one that we find works best is that the role or purpose of a leader is to engage others to commit their full energy to the creation of value and success. So, let's break that down. There's two parts to that. The first part is engage others to commit their full energy. You can't make people be engaged. It is their choice whether they are going to commit their energy or not. The leader's role is to create a situation and conditions in which others are committed to give their full energy. So that leaves the second half, creation of value and success. Why don't you talk to that.
Andrea McOwen: 01:11 When it comes to creation of value and success, what that really means is that leaders need to help people commit their full energy to creating value for the organization. They do this by creating value for customers and themselves. When employees feel they are contributing to their own value and success, they can then contribute to the value and success of the company.
Bob Parks: 01:33 Leaders who understand this definition and understand their role in this, understand also, that it's their purpose to create the conditions necessary for employees to achieve high performance with a sense of personal fulfillment. We know that performance with fulfillment go hand in hand. People will not achieve sustained high performance without feeling fulfilled, and at the same time, people will not feel fulfilled at work unless they are performing at a high level. The two go hand in hand.
Andrea McOwen: 02:06 That's right. When it comes to being a good leader, we know there are two critical elements, Form and Essence. We'll talk about each of those. Form I think is what everybody thinks about in terms of what it takes to be a good leader. It's the skills and the knowledge a leader must have. It's what they do as a leader. This would be setting goals and priorities, coaching and developing their employees, delegating and etc.
Bob Parks: 02:33 The other skillset for leaders is much less popular and it's one that most leaders really don't understand. We call it Essence and Essence is really character. As you define character, it's your value system. It's what drives your sense of integrity, your empathy, your compassion, your trustworthiness, and employees need this in a leader and they need to see this in a leader.
Andrea McOwen: 03:02 That's true and our experience is that leaders, regardless of level, all need to have both Essence and Form, or in other words, character and skills. So what does it look like if a leader has only Form? I am sure that almost everyone has had a leader whom they didn't trust or they didn't feel that he or she was very ethical. I have an example of that. One of our clients was getting ready to start a whole new initiative, it was going to be a big one too. She had a very large team of people that were going to be helping her implement this. At the beginning of the implementation she set expectations with her team and one of those expectations was that everybody was required to attend every meeting. There was no excuse for not attending the meetings and there were a lot of them. Well the problem was, that when it came to these meetings, she ended up being a no show. In fact, she ended up not coming to over 50% of those meetings. That's not really demonstrating that she respected them or that she respected their time. Bob, you have an example of the opposite.
Bob Parks: 04:08 Well, not as prevalent, I'm sure that there are some people who can relate to working with a leader who was all Essence, but very little Form. These people, everyone loves. I mean, they love their manager. Their manager trusts them to be committed. However, they lack the ability or the skill to focus that commitment and get anything done. One example that I'm more familiar with is the inability of a leader to hold people accountable, to set goals and objectives, to coach them when they make a mistake, even to fire people that deserve to be fired. The end result is that the leader now is unemployed and the organization is struggling to try to get back to profitability. Not a good situation.
Andrea McOwen: 04:58 No, not at all. So, to bring this to close, effective leadership is about the integration of Essence and Form. Being clear on our purpose, who we want to be as a leader, and having the ability to execute on that purpose. To be an effective leader and engage others in fully committing their energy and talents to the organization, you must have both Form and Essence. If you would like to learn more or have any questions, please reach out to us at StrategicEnhancement.com.
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