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  • John F. Edwards

Leadership is About the "What"

18 August 2018

#culture #engagement #leadership #leadershipopedia

Leadership Is About The “What” More so Than The “How”

In order to maintain effectiveness within the cultural context of an organization, each leader must ask themselves: “What is the most important thing about the way the team likes to do work?” Given the diversity of generations in the workplace, it is imperative for leaders to understand how their personal methodology for producing superior work may differ significantly from someone in a different generation.

I recall an instance where I was hurrying through our home moving from one room to get to another. My daughter was studying for an upcoming test. As I scrambled by her, I noted that she had her headset on with the volume blasting loud enough for me to hear the music. The textbook was in her left hand, her cell phone was in her right, and she was engaged with text messaging. The computer was on the table to her right and displayed her social media screen where she had recently been active. I was two steps beyond her seated position when my brain processes caught up to my body movement, and I came to a screeching halt. Triggered by what I just saw, I quickly concluded that this was an inappropriate way to study for a test.

I inhaled deeply as I prepared to engage in an authoritative behavioral modification moment. The better part of my brain intervened just in time. I experienced a moment of insight that would prove to bring me humility and learning. The voice inside my head reminded me that my daughter was a student in the National Honor Society having earned grades far superior to my own when I was in high school. That was the part of my brain that cued me to be quiet and continue my journey into the adjoining room.

An enabling element of her culture was an environment where she could learn amid multiple sensory stimulations whereas my preferences are apparently centered on a quieter atmosphere. Nonetheless, in reflecting on that moment, I realized that leaders bring their own personal mental models into the workplace and this will shape the way we expect others to get work done.

Is your Leadership Radar focused on how others are achieving success, or is it focused on simply defining what success “looks like”? If ethical, legal, and moral values are maintained, how flexible have you been in allowing your employees to determine how they achieve success? The most innovative companies achieve success by ensuring employees operate in a culture that, as much as is appropriate, enables them to figure out the “how.”


The previous was an excerpt from my book - check it out on Amazon

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