The Formula for Leadership?

The Leadership Challenge gives leaders a fantastic template for providing dynamic leadership in almost every situation. We all know that leadership is complex and can never really be reduced to a formula, but I have found that using this simple approach almost always clears the fog.

  • Model the Way.
    The first thing a leader needs to ask is, “Am I setting the right example in this situation?” You can’t expect to be very effective if your behavior doesn’t match what you are expecting from others.
  • Inspire a Shared Vision.
    Leaders inspire others to strive for a future that elicits passion and excitement. This means you have to project enthusiasm and lift people’s spirits. Key thought: shared vision. If you really want to inspire them, forget the William Wallace speeches and just let them have a part of creating it.
  • Challenge the Process.
    Leaders have the ability to look at a situation and ask, “Why does it have to be this way?” They spot the bottleneck and dare to say, “We’re going to overcome that problem.”
  • Empower Others to Act.
    Leaders do what only they can do so that others are free to act. Find the money for what they need, restructure their job, or protect them from vicious critics. The bottom line is that you empower them by getting the obstacles out of the way— whatever they are.
  • Encourage the Heart.
    Most of us are engaged in long journeys toward success, and there are many issues to address. Frankly, those issues become overwhelming and discouraging. Wise leaders know how to encourage the heart, so that no one quits too soon. Leaders create a culture of hope that pulsates with the thought that success is imminent.

There it is. MICEE: A great template for knowing what you need to do right now in this situation.

Think about your own “Leadership Challenge.” What’s needed? What’s missing? Are you setting the right example? Are you modeling the way? Is your team inspired? Do they have a shared vision that is inspiring? Or is there some situation that everyone just says, “It is what it is.”

Perhaps you need to question that conclusion. Perhaps it’s time to challenge the process. Or maybe there are some things that you need to do before your team can really have a chance to succeed. Or is it simply that in the long battle of trying to do the right thing, your team is emotionally bankrupt and fatigued?

One thing’s for certain, your team is looking to you to know what to do next. Try applying this template to the situation, and I’m convinced you’ll know the answer.

Mike Mowery

Written by:
Mike Mowery
Director of Leadership Development, Strategic Government Resources

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