05 May 2014

Authentic Leadership

Whilst we do not like to take the scope of our Lending News off piste too often, occasionally we come across material that we know has relevance to all of our readers, as much as to ourselves, and on occasion we choose to pass this on for your interest.

Similarly, whilst epistles on leadership attributes, qualities and actions are in ready supply, the following article from Leadership Psychology Australia struck us as less common for its practical and common sense narrative and readily digestible and actionable content.

We hope you are able to take either a little or a lot from it.

Authentic: to be reliable, trustworthy, genuine - not a copy

1. Be true to yourself

Personal or genuine or authentic leadership is being true to yourself - it is being the leader you really are. When leadership is expressed in a very personal way, the leader is seen as credible and trustworthy. Personal integrity is leading through your own beliefs and values.

2. Do what you say you will do

When leaders are clear what they stand for, they know what they are prepared to do and also what they are not prepared to do. Knowing what is personally non-negotiable makes it easier to align your actions with your beliefs. The basis of trust is that leaders do what they say they will do, so that there is consistency between their words and actions. Leaders come across as genuine when they mean what they say, and do what they say.

3. Learn from your experience

Certainly leadership can be informed by research and observation of other leaders. However to make it your own means building on your own core purpose, clarified through learning and experience and then expressed in a way that is uniquely yours. Credibility is enhanced by personal passion for a cause and the willingness to speak from the heart.

4. Clarify what you have come to do

Be clear about what is important to you as a leader, because this means that you can be clear about your priorities. Having clear priorities provides focus for where to put your energy and makes decision-making easier. Leaders know where they add the most value.

5. Manage your impact on others

Leadership is less about the leader and more about the leader's impact. All leaders have an impact for better or worse. What counts is what the leader does to help others to perform or to improve. The best leaders find the way to have the greatest positive impact.

6. Embrace learning

Leaders must be first and foremost leaders of learning. It starts with reviewing current reality, and then finding new and better ways to build what might be. Leaders create the future, not preserve the status quo. Leaders are agents of change, facilitators of learning.

7. Understand the strategic context

Leaders focus on building the team, but do so with appreciation of the context within which the team operates. The best teams have effective internal processes, but also understand the broader strategic agenda. This means being clear about the expectations of key stakeholders and being clear about the criteria for success.

8. Identify your leadership purpose

The essence of authentic leadership is to be motivated by a larger, deeper, personal purpose. Leaders are seen as trustworthy and authentic when what they do is congruent with who they really are. The secret is being true to yourself and expressing your leadership in your own unique way. Leadership is not a coat you put on.

Start by identifying some challenges you have faced as a leader:

  1. What did you do?
  2. What were the capabilities that you used?
  3. What were the values that you drew upon?
  4. What did you learn about what is important to you as a leader?
  5. How has this changed how you lead?

It is through adversity that our leadership is tested and our true purpose revealed.

The New Principles of Effective Leadership as identified by Leadership Psychology Australia are as follows:

1. From Management to Leadership

Management was good enough in the past, but if you are not also a leader today you will struggle to be effective. Around the world we are going through the most significant change in the way we organize and manage people since the industrial revolution. We are witnessing the shift from management to leadership and from manual work to knowledge work. If management was primarily concerned with control, then leadership is primarily concerned with influence. This has meant a change in the mindset that managers bring to their work. No longer is the job simply telling people what to do, rather it is challenging, engaging and inspiring. This shift has been driven by a more educated workforce who will no longer respond to simply being told, and has been reinforced by the greatly increased expectations of organizational performance which will riot be realized by a largely passive workforce.

2. Leading a Psychologically Mature Organisation

For too long we have allowed adults in the workplace to behave like children, rather than the mature adults that are required. We have tolerated immature and often self-indulgent behaviour and even at times have had leaders who set the worst example. We have had command and control bosses who demanded compliance, rather than leaders who inspired and empowered. Bosses who allowed people to escape responsibility for their behaviour, rather than leaders who created the conditions for accountability. We had an entrenched model of management that produced a dependent workforce rather than one which was prepared to challenge the status quo.

As the world has rapidly changed, organizations have had to mature in their treatment of people. The first challenge was to move from cultures which created psychological dependency to cultures which developed people who were psychologically independent. This required managers to empower people and to expect them to be responsible and accountable for what they did, and the results they achieved. This resulted in significant jumps in organizational performance, but often it was at the expense of behaviour that was not rewarded, such as teamwork and collaboration, The big challenge now is to build interdependence and partnerships. This is an adult state where people are driven by mutual interest and win-win relationships. This requires leaders who build cultures with shared vision and shared values.

3. From Span of Control to Span of Engagement

A management structure is built upon the idea of span of control - the number of people a manager can effectively supervise. The shift to a performance structure required a shift to span of development - it is not how many people you can supervise, but how many you can effectively develop that is important. This requires managers to coach and for individuals to have clear plans for development. The move to global, dispersed organisations with virtual teams means that the concept must now move to span of engagement - the challenge now is how many people we can effectively engage and influence. This is done now through building a cohesive and inclusive culture. Where size was once managed through bureaucracy it is now managed through the culture.

4. Leadership at all Levels

Leaders are critical to organizational success but so too is leadership. It is not just having excellent leaders in key leadership roles it is also having a culture which encourages all people to display leadership and then having the capability to build this leadership culture at all levels throughout the organization. At a senior level this means strategic leadership - the ability to position the organization for long term success. In the middle it means culture leadership - the ability to build a culture that can execute the strategy. At the frontline it means performance leadership - the ability to build teams that on a daily basis deliver consistent high performance.

5. Personal Leadership Starts with You

The foundation of leadership is self awareness. Without self awareness leaders have little appreciation of the impact of their style on others and they have limited capacity to modify it. Self awareness is critical because it is virtually impossible to change that which you are not even aware of. Today leaders need to have a range of leadership styles that they can call on. Different situations require different approaches and it is the capacity of leaders to develop this flexibility that is so crucial. Leaders must also be clear about what they stand for and what is negotiable.

6. Working with Emotions to Drive Performance is Critical

Being clever and understanding the industry you are in is essential for all leaders. It is essential but not sufficient. You also need to be able to communicate effectively, influence others and build trusting relationships. This requires a good balance between IQ, which is conceptual/technical ability and which is essential for developing effective strategy and EQ which is the ability to manage emotion and build strong relationships and trust which are essential for the development of a robust culture. Leaders must be able to build the right mood/emotion for the team to drive performance.

7. Leadership Impact

One thing that is clear is that leaders have an impact - an impact for good or for bad on the people they lead. Leaders need to manage their impact. In a world that is more complex and uncertain people often become insecure and anxious. Leaders need to bring clarity and explain that which doesn't change and make sense of that which does. To build ownership they need to involve people in the process. Leaders need to be aware and try to influence what their people think and feel and ultimately do. Monitoring and building the mood of the team is important. Making sure it is productive is a strategic necessity.

8. Bringing Values to Life

Leaders through their daily behaviour provide a powerful model for what is acceptable and what is required. People pay more attention to what their leaders do than to what their leaders say. When leaders do what they say they will do and follow through on promises, this builds trust and integrity. If what they say is not what they do, this breeds cynicism. The values that leaders display through their behaviour are powerful drivers of the culture.

9. Getting More Discretionary Effort

There is a difference between required effort and discretionary effort. Some people in the workforce do just what they are required to do and no more, whereas others go beyond just what is expected. They do this, not because they must, but because they choose to - this is discretionary effort. A significant leadership challenge today is in that giving people a reason to do more than just what they are paid to do. The best organizations are those that get more from their people more often. This is the environment that the best leaders are able to consistently create.

10. Aligning Culture and Strategy

Leaders craft a strategy as a road map towards the vision. They must also build a culture to support and drive this strategy. The culture will determine what people are prepared to do. The strategy will be executed to the extent that the culture drives it. There must be an alignment between the strategy (the priorities) and the culture (the values). At its simplest the strategy is externally directed towards the customer and culture is internally directed towards the team, Thus build a team to execute the strategy.

11. Breakthrough Leadership

Leaders today are concerned with developing the potential of the people they lead. This potential is the greatest untapped resources available for driving future organizational performance and growth. Many of the factors that stop people from developing their potential are related to self limiting thinking. It is generally less a lack of ability and more a lack of belief in ability that causes people to under-achieve. Breakthrough leadership is a style of leadership used to breakthrough old mindsets and ways of thinking that restrict a person's development. The biggest challenge for leaders today is not changing structures but changing mindsets.

12. Leadership Synergy

Leadership is increasingly exercised in teams. No leader, no matter how talented, can have all the answers in an increasingly complex and uncertain world. For many senior leaders the challenge is moving from operating as a group of leaders to working as a leadership team. No organisation can have long term success unless it can harness the capability and potential of all its people. The extent to which this is achieved is dependent upon the calibre of its leadership at all levels, starting at the top.





... That's Lending

Best regards,
Paul Wells, Chief Investment Officer
La Trobe Financial Asset Management Limited



La Trobe Financial is one of Australia's leading independent credit specialist Fund Managers. Its business includes residential mortgages, commercial mortgages, and investment services operating one of Australia's largest Mortgage Funds under AFSL 222213. It employs over 123 staff and has managed over AUD$10Billion covering over 100,000 investment grade assets since inception in 1952.

Copyright 2013 La Trobe Financial. All rights reserved. No portion of this may be reproduced, copied, or in any way reused without written permission from La Trobe Financial. Disclaimer

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