Leadership Behavior

03 Jan 2013

Each phase of development asks for different Leadership Behavior

In each phase of development the leader has a different role to support the group in development and creating results. With a different role comes different behavior. The first and reactive phase asks for defining clear borders. It asks for defining a clear goal. In this phase the group needs an expert that “knows what we have to do and within which preconditions we can get there”. They need an expert that demonstrates that he knows what is necessary to successfully deliver added value. In this phase they also need a “caretaker” that organizes the right preconditions and as a guide knows his way around in the context that we’re working in. In this phase we follow the leader. We acknowledge leadership to him because of his position. This doesn’t mean that we feel real commitment. Nor does it mean that we truly accepted his leadership. In short: there’s not yet authority in place. In this, authority is accepted power. We are not necessarily intrinsically motivated. In order to create that the enterprise or the assignment needs to become “mine”. We need to create mutual trust. To develop trust and commitment asks of the leader the capacity to connect, to be creative and to “read” what the group and it’s members need.

The importance of the development of roles. An expert can be an inspiring example. He is in tight control. He tells how it is. He has and gives all the answers. Often the leader acting as an expert doesn’t ask me how I experience something. He doesn’t ask me how I feel about something. He doesn’t know my worries or what I would like in this context. Maybe he doesn’t even know what other skills I have. The questions that need to be asked in order to get into a more active phase of development are more guiding, coaching. These are questions that enable a process in which talent can come out, gets the chance to unfold. The effect of these coaching questions is that the group and it’s members develop towards formulating answers and implementing them. Where at first it was the group that was listening, now it’s the leader that listens. This is where the opportunity to start co-creating and to start making use of the talent of the group even better lies. For a leader this step in role development and the transition of the group from a reactive phase to a more active one can be challenging. Sometimes it feels like “letting go of the steering wheel”, like letting go of control. What does that mean for the results we need to make? Is that going to work “if everyone is allowed to say something about that”? Will that not be taking too much time? These kind of thoughts create worry, or even fear.

An Impeccable Leader is capable to really connect with his employees in a way that enables them to perform their job with inspiration. This makes them perform and develop in the best of ways. In order to achieve this the Impeccable Leader manages the context in a way that employees feel free to unlock their creativity and skills to the max. This ensures meeting organizational goals. The development of the group and it’s members impacts the interface between the leader and the group. The extent in which a leader joins, supports, inspires and keeps up with the development depends on the extent in which a leader is capable of letting go of his preferred role. The more a leader identifies with for instance his role as an expert and takes his own needs as a starting point instead of the needs of others, the harder it will be for him to show flexibility in behaviors of the roles next in line.
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