My new responsibilities require me to adopt a clear and consistent leadership approach. However, if I am going to add value I need to “learn to let go” and provide my leadership colleagues with the necessary space and support to allow them to drive and lead their respective services, teams, schools, etc.
I’m not just about talking here about letting go in terms of operational control but also moving away from the approach which is characterised by self-preservation of the organisation, which can often be to the detriment of the needs of the people whom we serve. I know that loyalty to a group, or an organisation is a powerful means of motivating and holding together potentially disparate individuals. However, the new world in which we live is not going to be dependent upon the power of the group, but on the capacity of the group to adapt, change and, above all, form strong partnerships with others who share the same purpose. Consequently the traditional leadership approach, which builds group allegiance, often represented by a “we’re better than others” mentality, does not fit with our new environment. (If in fact, it ever did.)
Learning to Lead: some building blocks
1. Know that I can do SOME things better than others, but that others can do MOST things better than me.
2. Have the confidence not to know the answer and the willingness to say “I got that wrong”.
3. Realise that my principle role is to keep our focus on the needs of the people whom we serve.
4. Recognise that modelling leadership behaviour isn’t enough on its own to lead to system improvement, but that it can have a significant influence upon others.
5. Encourage others to tell me to STOP doing things if it’s getting in the way of their goals.
6. Encourage others to use my role as necessary to remove barriers or challenge practice.
7. Focus my attention upon enabling others, encouraging innovation, championing our values, and ensuring that we get it right for every person.
8. Think before I act and ask myself if my taking action undermines or supports my colleagues.
9. Talk openly with my colleagues about our respective roles and how I can enable them to their jobs even more effectively.
10. Demand an “outward facing” perspective focused on meeting the needs of the people we serve which is not limited by personal, professional or organisational boundaries.