So you’re a Leader. What do you do?
Effective Leaders do three things. They:
- MANAGE; and
- HOLD OTHERS ACCOUNTABLE
They do these three things in order, in a repeating “Leadership Loop”.
First in the Leadership Loop is to LEAD. Let’s keep it simple. Effective leadership is setting and clarifying just two things: VISION and EXPECTATIONS.
To lead is first about VISION. Great leaders at the top of the organization communicate a compelling vision of a better future. A compelling vision will pull everyone toward that preferred future. All other aspects of leading, managing, and holding people accountable flow from the vision. Top leaders are visionaries who create and choose the vision. Deeper in the organization leaders communicate and clarify this vision in ways that are relevant to others.
Effective leaders also clarify EXPECTATIONS about behaviors and results. The desired behaviors flow directly from the values of the organization. The operational plans for how the vision becomes reality set the expected results. Therefore each leader in the organization must clearly understand the organization’s values and plans.
People are hungry for a vision of a good future. Vision propels people forward. Proverbs tells us “Where there is no vision, the people perish”. (Proverbs 29:18) Great leaders feed this hunger with a great vision communicated in compelling ways.
Once a compelling vision propels people forward, they work more effectively when expectations are clear about behaviors and performance. The result of leadership with the top priority to daily clarify the vision and expectations is an organization that moves forward quickly.
When the VISION is compelling and the EXPECTATIONS are clear leaders have set a great foundation and are ready to take the next step in the Leadership Loop.
This is the first piece in a three-part series on the Leadership Loop.
Check back for Part II, “What Do Managers MANAGE?” next month!