KARIN ZASTROW

blogging about DIRECT LEADERSHIP

Is (everyday) direct leadership among your new year’s resolutions?

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If not, what reason do you give yourself?

Are you already a bright, shining star on the leadership firmament, so you do not have to worry?

Or are you in a senior, maybe executive position and do not consider everyday, direct leadership YOUR business? Do you focus on the overall goals? the strategy? the business results?

Or do you rely exclusively on the relationship and trust between you and your staff?

Well, here is news for you.

Whether you are the direct leader of only a handful of people or the executive of thousands, the question of how the day-to-day leadership of your organization’s employees is carried out is indeed both your responsibility and the most important key to implementing strategy and achieving business results.

I wrote about leadership and traffic signals in my last blog post.

Maybe it is because I live in a city. A city where a lot of change is going on. Renewal of old sewage systems, efforts to limit traffic in the central parts of town and the building of a new metro line. And as if this was not enough, one of the main subways stations here needs such a fundamental makeover that all car traffic past it is prohibited for two years.

To us, the citizens of Copenhagen, this means we need to change our behavior, find new routes to get from A to B, accept that the time to cover a certain distance has doubled, live with the noise and view of numerous construction sites. Like what happens, when an organization goes through change.

Imagine, if – during these changes – there was no uniformity to the signs, and you had to rely on trust alone …

If nobody understood the light signals or the gestures of the police officers assigned to lead, when and where there is doubt about the direction or about who must give way to the other party….

If traffic lights weren’t red, yellow, green, but some were flashing read or blue and could  be mistaken for police cars or alarm signals…

If one police officer guides us by hand gestures, but another requires of us to notice the subtle movements of his eyebrows…

How does this relate to everyday, direct leadership?

As an individual team leader implementing change, you are like a police officer in a road intersection. While trust is crucial, it is equally  important to understand the current context, interpret the overall goals, strategies and values, understand how people’s minds and hearts work.

AND… with all that in mind … you must discern when and how to intervene with guidance, support or remind someone to observe the rules, i.e. provide the leadership deliverables.

If you are an executive, you too must inspire trust. You must transform your analysis of the context into overall goals, strategies, and values.  You too must communicate with an understanding of people’s minds and hearts

AND… you must ensure a leadership infrastructure that ensures that leadership at all “intersections” between leaders and staff is carried out according to a common understanding of the leadership deliverables. In this way you create conditions that facilitate strategy deployment and smooth change processes. Without it, you must foresee slow “traffic” and plenty of bottlenecks.

Which of the above applies to YOU in 2012?

PS! To learn more about my leadership deliverables model, drop write a comment below or send an e-mail to karin@zastrow.dk and make an appointment to talk or tell me to send you a copy of my book “Direct Leadership”.

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