2022 will be the year of the leader, but that is easier said than done. What does leadership really mean today, how is it evolving into something never seen before.
If we leap back a couple of generations the role of a leader was very much different to the leader of today. It was mostly men and mostly command and control. I read many books on world leaders some I admire immensely and others not so. You can appreciate that as an executive coach leadership comes in many shapes and sizes, their is no place for those who lead by staring you down till you back down or those that just shout and bark orders. In my view that approch to leadership is still around but it’s lessoning.
I coach CEOs and leaders, it would be great to be able to jump back in time and get inside the hearts and minds of those leaders, why? what drove them to lead in such a manner and did they really believe they were enabling others! The executives I coach today have grown up observing many a manager and leader, again, some good some bad. They have learnt from their past managers – taken little bits from many different approaches. Those young professionals have observed what it feels like to be lead well and they have seen also how not to lead!
In China, 2022 is known as the year of The Tiger (the king of all beasts) but in my heart of hearts I truly believe we are going to see and witness a global explosion of exceptional leaders.
Leaders who are taking their people into a brand new era and I believe that in 50 years time professionals will look at how leaders in 2022 revolutionised the very essence of being a ‘Leader’.
When speaking with people around the world their are some common themes at play; professionals are quickly moving away from managers, leaders and cultures that allow poor behaviour. It is not acceptable (I love that) and it will not be long in my humble view that Chairs and Board of Directors will zero in on those managers and leaders and either get alongside them to help them change or move them out of the organisation. I say it all the time but it is a real honour and privilege to coach exceptionally talented people, truly remarkable humans here in my coaching business Nick Roud Coaching that have thrown out all the old rules and are re writing the book. The world will be a better place for it and that has to be a good thing.
The privilege position comes with an enormous amount of trust, honesty and for both my clients and myself to be ‘ourselves’. Coaching allows me to get behind the title that may have bestowed on the CEO and really understand where she or he is coming from. To witness so much genuine love, empathy and desire for their people to succeed really is a true testament to how much leadership has shifted over the last 30 years and as an executive coach it’s brilliant to be part of this much needed change.
I want to share a short story of a remarkable lady who I am coaching right now. We will keep names, organisations etc out of today’s blog to protect confidentiality.
She came to me over 18months ago and below were some of her initial self reflecting thoughts about herself as a CEO
CEO swamped with guilt,
CEO swamped with work load
CEO juggling far too many plates
CEO who had built a team and started to lay a very clear vision.
CEO that is stuck and starting to self doubt herself
Her business was, and is making good money, her staff retention was and is good, she is a remarkably talented executive, the board wanted and needed her thier and from the very beginning I knew it would not be long before she was were she wanted to be.
Coaching is about trust and we spent many hours at the beginning making sure we could both work together, getting under the hood and lay out clearly what was her leadership approach, style, behaviours and tendencies are. We also needed to appreciate her current strengths and development areas.
In order to understand where she wanted to be we needed to understand where she was ‘today’ so she completed a number of leadership assessments that uncover little nuggets – little gems that from the outside can normally find their way to the corner…
We involved a number of her people from board room to factory floor, by including them we could fully understand how others perceived her leadership. Only once we had got back that critical vital data could we both then get to work, and by work I avoid like the plague the word ‘fixing’…………my coaching work is never about ‘fixing’ its always about being aware and being very present to not only the feedback being shared but how that feedabck can enable a leader to progress forwards.
The ah-ha light bulb moment for her didn’t come from the leadership assessments, her leadership shift was when she spent 3 months working on what I call ‘Core Purpose’. Work that makes a lasting impact to so many people. She literary transformed!
When we spoke around month 3 or 4 about her Core Purpose work she initially was sceptical/nervous and extremely flippant towards how much the core purpose work would really help her. She felt it wouldn’t be needed and that we had so much great insights for her leadership assessments and 360s that we should just focus in on her ‘development/gaps’….(not with me we go into all the nocks and holes to make sure you are the leader you want to be……..no quick hacks here :)) I want all my clients to really lift off the mask and be who they should be. Only then will you be a true ‘leader to yourself and your people;.
The time was really right for her to step forwards into her Core Purpose work and she did – the results speak for themselves.
I wonder if we could re visit some those old school leaders and ask them to put time, energy and effort into working on core purpose how they might turn out. That’s one thing we will never know but as a coach seeing so many leadership shifts I am confident it would have certainly helped.
So as I said on the outset I know in my heart of heats that leadership has moved on, a new wave of professionals are making a huge shift in what makes a a leader. Over the last few years of writing my leadership blog I still feel that empathy is the number 1 ingredient for a leader to have. Great leaders have that something special going on, that aura that just cannot be bought. The more I coach the more I see themes and those themes come back to empathy in your relationships with other humans.
I congratulate anyone who is a CEO or wants to be a CEO and I know how lonely and hard the job is. But the more you can be you and not the title the better for yourself and your people.
Thanks for taking the time to read today’s leadership blog, enjoy your week, look after yourself and your people.