“Complex challenges — ranging from expanding into overseas markets to dealing with the fallout of natural disasters — often don’t respond to conventional approaches and knowledge. Instead, they require innovative thought and action,” says John Ryan, President and CEO of the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL).
Six important things you can do to become a more effective leader include:
Collaborate. Collaborative leaders can get tremendous results. Research shows that the ability to collaborate is a skill that top executives believe their men and women should have. In fact, 97 percent of the executives we surveyed identified collaboration as a key to their organization’s success. And yet, just 47 percent of those same executives believe the leaders in their organizations are skilled collaborators.
Act authentically. Executives we talk to frequently emphasize the importance of authentic leadership: doing your job without compromising your values, beliefs or personality. But leading authentically is not easy. Executives in CCL’s survey acknowledged that trying to keep up an executive image of being decisive and all-knowing can compromise their authenticity.
Sustain talent. It can take years to groom effective senior leaders — and organizations will need to develop new generations of leaders who will be able to succeed amid the complex challenges. Organizations will need to create pools of candidates with high leadership potential and then put our talent where it can excel.
Develop judgment. In their 2007 book Judgment: How Winning Leaders Make Great Calls, Noel M. Tichy and Warren G. Bennis argue that leaders need to develop three kinds of judgment:
• People judgment: the ability to get the right talent on the team;
• Strategy judgment: the ability to frame the right questions; and
• Crisis judgment: knowing your values and goals.
Value learning agility. Work challenges are constantly changing and the flow of information is nonstop. Effective leaders, then, have the ability to learn on the fly and to act on the spur of the moment.
Manage your health. CCL research involving senior executives shows that effective leadership and regular exercise are strongly linked. Executives who exercise are rated significantly higher by their co-workers on their leadership effectiveness than non-exercisers. In fact, exercisers score better than non-exercisers in all leadership categories, including organization, credibility, leading others and authenticity. And, of course, regular exercise improves your energy, stamina and overall health.
By John Ryan, Center for Creative Leadership
Reprinted with permission from the Center for Creative Leadership, www.ccl.org
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