Leadership ‘workouts’ for the new world

Senior leaders and business owners are responsible for building the future, but we know we cannot do it alone. We lean on leaders at all levels to build the framework and try to inspire them to keep themselves and their leadership skills up to date. We then get very frustrated when nothing happens fast enough. But there are ways to avoid having this headache.

Effectiveness is a direct output of how you spend your time. If you spend your time doing the things you have always done, or if you are too busy “doing” to find ways to do things differently, then the results will remain the same. This is a huge barrier to any transformation.

We know already what no longer works. Every leader’s life has grown more complicated in the past two years or so. Senior leaders could only share suggestions based on what we had learned and were learning because there was no proven playbook. We had to ask for results and change at the same time.

We asked our people, and those who lead them, not to just change, but to change more quickly than ever before. The toll was massive. I saw turnover in leadership positions, and I am sure I was not alone. Their struggles became our headaches.

We need to build new leadership workouts. Think of it like putting people in a gym on a new exercise regime. It may be tough and slow at first, but they start to build the new leadership muscles needed. Now, with the right coaching and direction, we can benefit from the new leadership workouts they are doing. For example, leaders at all levels understand that now they need to develop “muscles” that will improve flexibility and agility.

Unlike exercise, leadership does not need to rest after a workout (learning). Leadership muscles get stronger with more frequent application in the workplace doing the right things. That means you need to help your leaders understand how to use their time better.

As always, it starts with you! Senior leaders and business owners must first understand and admit we are running different companies or organisations now. In my business, there were new customer types I had never or rarely worked with before. Even long-term customers were different and needed different services. I needed my leaders needed to lead differently to meet their new needs.

Once I understood this, I could help them see why there would be no return to the old normal and ask them to do things differently. It was only when I could understand that my life and leadership demands were far more complex, that I could see my leaders as people with their own needs. They were not just vehicles to get my work done.

We need to help leaders spend their time more effectively. Once they understand they need to do things differently, they inevitably experience a shift in thinking and mindset. Without this shift, there can be no shift in how they work, and no noticeable shift in outcomes. It is not easy, and it is not usually quick, but it is increasingly important. If tradition influences the way we think, then our leaders must first challenge their assumptions about their roles.

We need to help leaders spend time creating opportunities by being outward-facing. So, ask yourself these questions:

  • How much time do your leaders spend trying to understand their people, customers’ changing needs, and the industry?
  • How much do they share between themselves for learning?
  • How often do they come to you with stories — or ideas?
  • How are their mindsets shifting?

Do you remember when everybody had a Nokia phone? Nokia had the world’s best handsets. It had the best technology. It had the most customers. Like the captain of the Titanic, why didn’t Nokia see the iceberg that sank it? Its leaders did not accept their changing reality because they were not looking outward around them enough. They did not shift their mindset. Do not let your leaders give you the same headache.

Have your leaders spend time empowering and enabling their people to deliver results. Have them serve the people they lead, develop accountability and facilitate productivity. Help them to lead internal operations and maximise efficiency. Help your leaders understand that tomorrow’s great companies will not be built by leaders sitting at a desk managing and monitoring alone.

It is leaders who can see the new reality for the people they lead — and for their customers — who will find better ways to lead in these situations and reduce our C-Level headaches.


Arinya Talerngsri is Chief Capability Officer and Managing Director at SEAC — Southeast Asia’s Lifelong Learning Center. She can be reached by email at arinya_t@seasiacenter.com or https://www.linkedin.com/in/arinya-talerngsri-53b81aa. Talk to us about how SEAC can help your business during times of uncertainty at https://forms.gle/wf8upGdmwprxC6Ey9

Article source: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/2358094/leadership-workouts-for-the-new-world