Presidential Leadership

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A leader creates connectedness, clarity and leads in the midst of fog and disconnection.  A few weeks ago as I was training, an issue arose for the second time in 3 weeks with the same company.  This issue had political, financial and relational challenges affixed to it.  The financial impact to the company was at least six figures. Additionally, the business faced retention risks if it was not resolved.

As the session reached an end, the President of the company said, “Chris has created some excellent value here and we need to take action.”  His next statement was impressive, “My commitment to the group will be a meeting where this issue will get resolved and clarified.  It will include myself and the other constituents impacted by this challenge.”

Notice what he did here:

1.) Created Connectedness: The President connected those most impacted by this challenge to the table to resolve the issue.  He made a commitment to lead them through the process and help them resolve it together.  He pushed against the tenor of distrust by creating a platform for trust to awaken.

Connectedness is about trust, integrity and relationships.  It is about knowing that I can disclose weakness and not be threatened by others to push me out of the group.  A leader creates connectedness through relationship and strong engagement.

2.) Clarity: Team members that do not have clarity for themselves are often wondering and wandering.   This hinders productivity greatly.  The team member who brought this up, said she spends most of her day trying to navigate the various procedures and directives from the team without making any type of headway.

The President at that moment helped create some clarity by providing leadership.  The employee at that moment was relieved to hear the President stand up and push for clarity for all parties involved.  A great leader establishes clarity for themselves so that they can provide clarity for others.

3.) Just Lead: The other thing this President did was lead.  He stood out in front of the group and said “This is what we are going to do next.” It was a strong and powerful statement.  A leader is able to take the ambiguous situation and create a pathway. It may not be the “right” pathway, but it is a decision. A leader needs to be able to make a decision during uncertain times.

According to a recent Harvard Business Review article a leader must be both decisive and warm.  The ability to make strong decisions and provide warmth to others.

A person who can handle ambiguity and create a path emerges as the leader.  As long as those that are following feel connected to the person and the purpose.  That is exactly what this President did.  The results were improved trust and greater efficiency.

Out of the three characteristics of leadership stated above, where are you the most competent and where do you feel incompetent?