Responding To Good Leadership This Year

Responding has been the word of the week. It started with a talk I heard which ended with a conclusion about responding, and I thought, wow, if he’d have used responding as his theme, then the talk would not have wandered and it would have been powerful. So, I started thinking about various ways we respond starting with people from the Bible.

Friday is often leadership day at Faith Venture, so I wondered about how leaders set the tone of the organization to get a beneficial response. Here are a few thoughts you might be able to use this year in whatever you might be leading–committee, department, company, non-profit organization.

Vision – Effective leaders are responding to a cause, problem, need. They don’t just say to themselves, “I just want to be the boss.” People like that may be managers. Or they may be ineffective leaders that end up in some sort of mess. But the good ones know where they’re going. It’s a cause or fills a need. It’s big enough to get others involved.

Communicate – Effective leaders can articulate the vision in 40 words or less. Peter Drucker says it should fit on a T-shirt. I’m part of an organization that has two statements. They call them “mission” and “vision”, but in reality they are statements of vision. And each is too long. Last year they re-wrote them after 12-14 years and said the same thing using more words. I heard about the process and offered some suggestions. They dropped me from the mailing list immediately. <sigh> Beyond the written statement, effective leaders talk about the vision at every opportunity. If someone suggests a new initiative, they ask, “Does it fit the vision?” Everyone in the organization should be familiar with the vision.

Decisions – Effective leaders assure that decisions are made in a timely manner. They either make decisions promptly and clearly, or they give people closest to the action the power to make decisions with clear guidelines.

Process – Effective leaders pay close attention to system and process of how things get done. If things are not happening the way you like, look at the process before you try to fix the people. The process may be set up to assure failure.

Execution – Effective leaders know that vision is worthless unless you get something done. If it is a business, then you must satisfy customer needs and make a profit. If it is a non-profit, you must serve your clients well, and assure adequate funding for the work. They encourage, no insist upon, collaboration. I had a boss with a gift for words who would pull together an ad hoc team and say, “Why don’t you gather like the witches in Macbeth and solve this problem.” Fair is foul…oh, that’s another essay. 

Here’s to a more effective 2017.

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