Reflecting on your people leadership practice
Over a number of months we have published a series of six posts about Practical Leadership Actions to help leaders get people to perform at their best (see links below). This series of practical leadership actions have been organised around the six major themes that have emerged through our work with over 550 Discovery in Action® (Leading People) program participants. We have now created a summary one-page version of this material into a ‘wheel’ graphic organised around three layers of leadership that capture the cause and effect relationships implied in effective leadership practice:
- The ultimate business outcomes of great leadership practice (at the centre of the wheel) – desirable outcomes such as high levels of discretionary effort in the team, high quality outputs being produced, efficient delivery, innovation and customer focus;
- The positive impacts of effective leadership on the people you lead (the middle layer of the wheel) that will contribute to the achievement of those business outcomes – when you are ‘doing great leadership’ your people will be saying: ‘I feel supported, valued and safe’; ‘I am learning and growing’; ‘I feel empowered’; ‘I am clear about my role’; ‘I feel part of a team’; and ‘I am doing purposeful, meaningful work’. These are the six themes around which the practical leadership actions are based and largely describe the dimensions of a positive team climate.
- The broad leadership strategies (the outer layer of the wheel) that you, as a people leader, could implement that will enable these positive impacts on your people and maintain a healthy team climate. We have articulated 31 of these strategies (5 or 6 per theme) that form the framework of the Practical Leadership Actions which articulate possible actions to operationalise these strategies.
These have all been captured in a simple one-page graphic. It is important to note that this is not a validated model of leadership – it is merely a synthesis of the ‘wisdom of the crowd’ through our work with over 600 participants in the Discovery in Action® (Leading People) program as they have explored these simple but powerful action research questions grounded by their lived leadership experiences:
- What does high performance look like? [see outcomes above]
- When do people perform at their best? [see impacts above]
- What do I have do to get them to perform at their best? [see leadership strategies above + practical leadership actions]
So, how might you use this one-page graphic?
There are a range of ways you can potentially use this wheel to reflect on your leadership practice:
- Reflect on the climate of your team – to what extent are the six conditions present where people perform at their best i.e. people feel supported, valued and safe; clear about their roles etc (the middle layer of the wheel)? You may have an intuitive feel about the extent to which these conditions are current present in your team. Alternatively you could use the six statements as the basis for a simple pulse survey in your team. A recent client ran their own branch pulse survey once per month using similar statements to these over a nine month period and saw steady and significant improvement over the period due to an emphasis on leadership practices in the leadership team over that period. Of course, once you get a sense of which of the six conditions might need attention you can use the leadership strategies and practical actions as a guide for improvement.
- Reflect on individual staff performance issues – if you have a staff member with some performance issues (poor performance outcomes against the elements in the centre of the wheel) you could use the six conditions (the middle layer of the wheel) as a diagnostic tool to reflect upon what might be contributing to their poor performance and then ask yourself: What leadership strategies and actions can I take to improve their performance? and refer to the outer layer for some guidance. You may also want to refer to our recent post: How did you make your staff feel today?
- Reflect on your own leadership practice – you may want to use the outer layer of the wheel (people leadership strategies) to reflect on your own strengths and areas for improvement. This might just be a self-reflection and/or you could run your own 360-degree survey and get feedback from your team. We have converted this into a one-page assessment tool that you could use for either purpose. Again this may highlight areas for you to focus your leadership practice – reference to the previously published practical leadership actions provide plenty of ideas about actions or behaviours you could implement. You may also want to refer to one of our previous blog posts on shadow beliefs that drive your actions that may provide deeper and insightful reflections about your leadership practices.
Maybe just printing out the wheel and pinning it to your wall, might just help as a simple reference guide when you are looking for inspiration!
Want to see the 6 Practical Leadership strategies posts?
Click on the link to see tips on: