How often do you discuss "leadership" with individuals or groups? For me, leadership is a frequent topic of discussion. Team and leadership development is my "lens".
One of the most important questions one can ask about leadership is:
What do we mean when we say making leadership happen?
- articulate a clear vision
- engage your employees
- develop talent
- have a global mind set
- think strategically
- create win-win solutions
- leverage diversity
- communicate effectively
- hold people accountable
- be an agile learner
Two problems here:
- The lists of leader characteristics and behaviors seem endless. It’s as if we’ve taken every positive human quality and made it into a requirement for effective leaders.
- Some of the advice can seem contradictory at times. Managers are told to take charge and to empower others, to be politically savvy and authentic, to be flexible and steadfast.
There is another way.
The Center for Creative Leadership offers a model of leadership development that brings sanity to the equation. Instead of putting the entire weight of leadership on individual managers and their capabilities, CCL suggests it’s important to examine how the whole system is involved in making leadership happen.
CCL's answer to "making leadership happen" involves three key areas:
1. DIRECTION: Agreement on what the collective is trying to achieve together
2. ALIGNMENT: Effective coordination and integration of the different aspects of the work so that it fits together inservice of the shared direction.
3. COMMITMENT: People who are making the success of the collective (not just their individual success) a personal priority.
CCL offers this:
These three outcomes – direction, alignment, and commitment (DAC for short) – make it possible for individuals to work together willingly and effectively to realize collective achievements. So when we say making lead- ership happen, we mean making direction, alignment, and commitment happen. In fact, we think the only way to know if leadership has happened is to look for the presence of these three outcomes.