As I’ve mentioned in some of my previous blog posts, the 3 overarching building blocks of leadership include crafting a vision, building alignment around that vision, and bringing the vision to life by championing execution. Each of these areas contain 6 subsets that, when combined and exercised, transform an ineffective or moderate leader into one who is fully prepared and supported to guide his or her team to success.
Over the next few weeks, we will be exploring these 18 subsets and how practicing each of them can revolutionize leadership.
The first subset of “Crafting a Vision” is the art of Remaining Open, or practicing open leadership. The traditional workplace mindset of “not changing the colonel’s recipe,” or not “fixing what ain’t broke” is outweighed by rapid innovation in today’s landscape. This level of innovation rarely comes from the minds of brilliant founders alone, and is more often the result of upwards collaboration from talented team members.
The term “open leadership” refers to how leaders should be open to dialogue and feedback on a consistent basis, so as to welcome fresh ideas, foster creativity, and create a culture of communication and collaboration. Harvard Business Review even drew upon this anti-top-down strategy in a 2008 critique of traditional leadership.
Your vision, or imagined future for your organization, will hit far fewer snags if situations are assessed from a 360 degree perspective. Employing open leadership shows that you genuinely value your staff enough to consider their input, resulting in a loyal team and clients who feel truly valued.
Open Leadership Welcomes Uncomfortable Perspectives
I’m sure you’ve heard variations of this phrase: “People don’t leave bad jobs, they leave because of poor leaders.” A fitting but scarcely discussed example of a devastatingly poor listener and leader is Henry Ford.
Before GM began taking over the industry, Ford’s staff was quick to inform him of a sharp drop in sales. They couldn’t sell the same model forever. He didn’t listen; instead, he made the pitfall mistake of blaming his “incompetent” sales department. His failure to employ open leadership was a result of his fixed vision and unwillingness to take outside perspectives into consideration, which eventually led him to bankruptcy. In fact, Ford filed for bankruptcy on two separate occasions.
Stay Open, and Loyalty Will Follow
Among the numerous benefits of maintaining open leadership is true, honest loyalty from your people. From your hard working employees to the clients and customers who keep your business going, those around you will be more inclined to stick by your side when they know their opinions are being heard, valued, and taken into consideration.
Open Leadership Requires Open Feedback
Learn from Ford’s failed management style! Listen to your supporting staff and invite their feedback, and your turnover rate is sure to improve.
Innovation would grind to a halt if modern leaders were closed off to constructive criticism or dialogue. Feedback is the most effective way to understand just how well you’re performing in any role and also the best way to check your leadership blindspots. What are some potential pitfalls and roadblocks for your company that your team members have identified before you have? Is it possible that they might have ideas on how to enhance productivity and increase profits too?
Your Ticket to an Open, Productive, and Successful Workplace
Exercising openness as a leader is crucial if you’re to build a loyal, supportive team around your goals and identify potential pitfalls before you hit them.
Are you operating under the best practices of extraordinary leadership? Contact me today for a free consultation to see if you are a good fit for executive leadership coaching.
About Dr. Wilkerson, PD, MBA, PCC.
Do you want to increase your impact? Do you want to increase profits under your leadership? Do you want to develop and use your abilities to the fullest to better connect with and lead others? Executive Leadership Coaching covers these bases. Dr. Jerrund Wilkerson, PD, MBA, PCC, has more than 30 years of successful executive leadership coaching in the United States and internationally.
As a licensed pharmacist, he is particularly passionate about helping develop effective leaders in the healthcare community. Dr. Wilkerson has coached and trained thousands of managers and leaders. He is a certified coach and member of the John Maxwell Leadership Team.
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