The L Formula

Personally, I've always thought of leadership as something that is inherit to individuals and really isn't one of those skills that can be learned or taught in a management class. But Steven Covey's recent post makes me think differently... sorta.* Perhaps there is a formula for leadership -- or at least a short list of essential ingredients that are common among the most effective ones.

Covey's four imperatives of leadership:

  1. The first is to inspire trust. You build relationships of trust through both your character and competence and you also extend trust to others. You show others that you believe in their capacity to live up to certain expectations, to deliver on promises, and to achieve clarity on key goals. You don’t inspire trust by micromanaging and second guessing every step people make.
  2. The second is to clarify purpose. Great leaders involve their people in the communication process to create the goals to be achieved. If people are involved in the process, they psychologically own it and you create a situation where people are on the same page about what is really important—mission, vision, values, and goals.
  3. The third is to align systems. This means that you don’t allow there to be conflict between what you say is important and what you measure. For instance, many times organizations claim that people are important but in fact the structures and systems, including accounting, make them an expense or cost center rather than an asset and the most significant resource.
  4. The fourth is the fruit of the other three—unleashed talent. When you inspire trust and share a common purpose with aligned systems, you empower people. Their talent is unleashed so that their capacity, their intelligence, their creativity, and their resourcefulness is utilized.

Think of impact of reaching item #4 - unleashing talent. I've been fortunate to see this happen and it's amazing!! If you can move your organization forward to this level, there is absolutely nothing that you can't do.

* BTW: I've always thought of leadership as a thing that is nurtured (not taught) from raw talent and instinct. Confession - even after Covey, I still do. :)

[hmm... heading off to ponder items 1,2&3 and how to incorporate these in the new job]

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