Wednesday 18 March 2015

Real leadership isn't a popularity contest

I watched the Australian ABC television program 4 Corners last Monday evening. The show was about why Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott almost lost the leadership recently and probably still will.

There's a lot of opinion in these current affairs shows of course and sorting opinion from fact is impossible. A theme struck me though - a lot of what's going on behind the scenes as well as in front of the camera is about trying to do what's difficult yet still being popular enough to stay in power.

This is a slippery slope in politics and so to in your business.

Real leadership isn't a popularity contest. Real leadership is about authenticity and trust.

7 ways through the maze

1) Don't make promises you can't keep.

2) If unforeseen circumstances arise and you can't keep a promise be candid and upfront with people.

3) Focus on reaching and sustaining shared-view with people. Whatever your business, your politics, or the ideology driving you, change is the constant. Change champions sustain shared-view in 7 areas.

4) Maintain harmony between being tender-hearted and tough-minded. Know when to lead with your heart, when to lead with your mind, and when a combination of both is required. Realise life is a series of often opposing forces competing for the territory; relationships and tasks, leadership and management, heart and mind; the list is endless.

5) Ask great questions with the genuine intention to understand what people really need and want and then either deliver or be candid with people when you are unable to deliver.

6) Continually share your authentic story in compelling and positive ways ensuring there is no sense of spin being felt by your audience. And beware of soundbites, the bites often kill the sound.

7) Engage daily in an ongoing candid conversation with all stakeholders. Don't just keep people in the loop though, really engage with the remarkable, the great, the good, and the bad and the ugly.

Prime Minister Abbott is in trouble because currently he doesn't live these 7 in his own way. You?

There's no doubt that real leadership means doing the unpopular when necessary. People will go with you 9 times out of 10 when you live the above. And the one time they don't probably doesn't mean the end of your leadership, rather there's a lesson you need to learn.

Be remarkable.

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