Why Change Now?

What type of leader is important in organizational change? Here’s a short story – Doug had a boss named Bill.  Bill was an easy guy to talk to, open and authentic. Then Bill took a role with another company and moved on after a two-year run with Doug. Bill was replaced by John, an experienced veteran in the industry with a proven record of results. John was an imposing, judgmental and powerful person. There was this air of distrust about John that most people saw and in meetings most attendees deferred to his ‘suggestions’. He infected everyone on the leadership team – his reports began to cover their asses and distrust one another, even though they had worked very well before under Bill. What type of leader are you? [kleo_gap size=”10px” class=”” id=””]

“Our cultures – whether on teams, companies, civic groups and even in our families – evolves continuously, whether we want them to or not. The rhythm changes in response to a shifting context, environment and interpersonal dynamics.”

Eyes Wide Open

Doug had to have his eyes wide open in order to survive – first and foremost – under John. As a leader, you directly influence the behaviors of others. A leader has an assumed degree of power to project on other people – either their shadow or their light.  As a colleague, manager or executive, you have a direct effect on those around you, too. As an Elegant Leader, voltage arises when you enlighten your team. Your sincereity to establish and develop a safe environment is critical if you need people to open up to change and possibilities. Being a model to lead from your heart, head, hands and habits – in that order – is your best way to lead with sustainable results and high-value relationships. The research evidence is compelling: adopting and applying a safe, positive environment makes a difference in productivity, satisfaction, and happiness at work. When trust is cultivated, innovation, new ideas and fluid communication is the byproduct. It also makes it easier to be safe to open up and change. Read more on Elegant Leadership here…

You cannot expect a neutral culture to merely ‘be’.

You are rarely in the driver’s seat when it comes to culture.

You influence and evolve a team or company culture intentionally.

To do that, we must have clarity and alignment around:

♦     Who we are today and how will we evolve tomorrow?

♦     Why do we exist? Our mission, our purpose and our vision…

♦     What do we do better than anyone else? We bring our vision to life.

♦     Where are our most significant gaps between today and where we must go?

When we are grounded, having clarity and feel the tension between what is and what could be, it’s here where we can identify possible ways of bridging the gaps – and start cultivating a culture that will ensure we thrive.[kleo_gap size=”10px” class=”” id=””]

Keep Moving Forward

Based on positive psychology, Elegant Leadership believes in abundance and expectation. It’s showing up strategically and purposefully open-minded for positive possibilities. Your people’s baseline mindset is drawn to this statement, ‘We fix a problem and then go back to normal.’ In moving forward, we can no longer go back to normal. You cannot afford to go back to that reality. Evolving through change, culture and moving one another forward requires us to establish, maintain and replicate the disciplines that deliver success.

Your people enjoy being a part of a challenge, a journey, an adventure. They want the opportunity to challenge, to perform beyond expectations, and we’ll live up to our greatest potential as an organization. We can be the best version of ourselves going through these opportunities. Elegant Leadership stretches us to uncover ‘what becomes possible’ when a problem is solved. As Elegant Leaders, we elevate our people and teams to greater performance with a healthy rhythm in our work life. These same dimensions flow into the personal realm as well. Are you struggling in your personal life? Try this…

How can you envision positive possibilities to lead your team or client?

Part of showing up and having a positive mindset is leading with a permissive, encouraging, empowering frame – without being weak or boundless.  Elegant Leaders are quick to coach and correct people who abuse their trust, or whose good intentions lead to negative outcomes with grace. They are gentle AND firm. Elegant Leaders serve the greater good and the organization in mind.  It also means stopping individuals who go too far, wander off, don’t or won’t contribute, in the best interest of everybody else. The work through where their people are when they ‘bump into’ or ‘recklessly drive through’ boundaries they know they’re not to cross!

Moving to ‘Yes, AND’

History’s default answer is ‘yes’ followed by ‘but’ or ‘unless’. We can try new things unless we deviate from our shared purpose. In comparison, conventional leadership leans into the control mindset, and the default answer is ‘no, but, unless you ask permission in advance, or you can prove or justify that this will be useful.’ The latter is difficult as things develop over time and, especially, if they haven’t been tried before. Change in itself is what you aim for in the future – so you can never be absolutely in control and 100% sure that a particular activity will be useful.

The mindset of positive leadership is necessary for change processes to stick. It helps to envision possibilities that aren’t there yet, to believe them before you can see or prove them, and to trust the right things will emerge. Why? Because you hired or inherited some good and great people. It enables the team to pull it off with your positive guidance. Give them the space, trust and respect you expect to receive from them. Here’s a great example: Andrew was working with Shawn and Shawn struggled to consistently deliver results and had a few too many strained relationships. Andrew took a new tact and began coaching Shawn up using the ‘yes, and’ approach.

Long story short, ‘Shawn, if we work together on your communications with your colleagues under stress, we’ll be better together. Are you willing to commit to better strategies? I’ll help you through this.’ What do you think Shawn’s thoughts and behaviors became? Less stress, increased trust, willingness to do and to be? Why? Because instead of carrot-and-stick, someone’s committed to guide Shawn through the process.

What is working well

Positive leadership builds on what is already working well. I’m a propoent of using Active and Appreciative Inquiry to uncover what’s really going on, underneath the crap. It values people for their unique contributions. The Elegant Leader trusts people, and they will surprise you in a positive way. This leadership system acknowledges good things and actions, and includes connecting with and caring for people, being authentic and honest, communicating continuously and coaching others. Elegant Leaders copy, coach and correct with a simple focus on empowering people. The behaviors and habits of Elegant Leadership increase the energy, ideas and abilities for employees to open up. They feel safe, trusted and valued, thus people collaborate and change together.

What’s Next?

Help you people open their eyes to the present situation, be mindful of what they observe, and to let go of any negative baggage. Your leadership is to help them see with fresh, appreciative eyes and the possibilities in the future. Focus on the energizing things that work well. Be the change you want to see on your team! See their potential and believe you can pull it off with their contribution. They will surprise themselves in a positive way when you enable them by leading elegantly.

Stop the frustrations of focusing on what’s not working well and leverage from your position of strength. We focus on ‘what is working well.’ Our approach uses four steps to moving things forward and is integrated with our Change Circles and workshops:

Discover: when and where are things okay and working well?

Dream: what’s possible when we expand what’s working well?

Design: What will we do next?

Deliver: How will we do it?

This is not a world of ‘rainbows and unicorns’. And, it doesn’t mean you have to become an aloof, happy hugger and deny the half-empty glass, either. It means you choose to use the power of what’s possibile, and you believe you can refill the glasses of your people over and over again. You’re leading elegantly all while being resourceful to mitigate the discomfort that will occur from the half-empty glass. You’ll find creative, sustainable ways to fill the glasses even adding a full glass here and there while you’re at it.

Have you experienced positive leaders who lifted their organization?

The Elegant Leadership mindset. But it doesn’t mean you don’t see reality. Of course, you do. You see more than. You see the potential. It doesn’t mean you don’t want to hear criticism, doubts or second thoughts. You do. But you know and hear the potential. The solution may be lurking within the darkness of the comment, and the commitment to improve is hiding in criticism. Be aware of what’s underneath!

Elegant Leadership looks simple, and it’s easier said than done. It requires embracing positive possibilities and dealing with your inner critic and those outside. It requires you to look for potential – even in situations or in employees where you cannot seem to find anything positive…

Copyright © [current-year] JScott Partners, Inc.  |  All Rights Reserved  |  Powered by Beyond Sports, LLC |