Leadership (4 Factors Underpinning It)

There are 4 factors to build into your life to develop as a leader, ie

1. Space for sustainable thought leadership (this involves finding time from the daily routine to think, like free-flow thinking; importance of unconscious thinking in decision-making; parking ideas in the brain, ie do not consciously think about them; need to handle the action/omission bias, ie habit of constantly moving, you sometimes need to be 'still', ie time for head space. Some useful techniques include at the start of each month do some personal strategic thinking, like developing goals (personal and professional); this can be followed by weekly reviewing of the monthly goals (including where you spent most of your time and energy) and reprioritise if necessary; focus on the areas you are responsible for and the people you have the opportunity to influence; find a personal forward leadership window which is your personal time to think; 'work-related prospection', ie the tendency to think about the work day ahead and make plans about future work tasks and goals as a positive influence on job satisfaction and this is linked with 'trait self-control', ie the ability to alter or override dominant response tendencies and regulate your behaviour, thoughts, and emotions so that it is possible stay on track with your goals; importance of 'self-reflection' or 'deliberate learning', ie deliberately articulating and categorising your past experiences should be a continuous process; by reflecting on lessons learnt, you can significantly increase your performance and this can be more powerful than gaining more experience, ie experiential learning)

2. Clarity around your game plan (need to maintain focus on broader goals while handling daily pressures; involve adequate preparation, ie thinking time, etc for activities, like meetings; aim is to become someone who adds value, rather than an on-the-spot contributor; move from being reactive or merely just responding to the others, etc to being proactive, ie delegate, etc; have high self-control, ie the ability to alter or override dominant response tendencies and regulate your behaviour, thoughts and emotions to consistently stay on track to achieve your goals.

Need to

  - maximise control of your time, like handling unrealistic deadlines, responding to requests, etc

  - learn how to handle the unexpected, ie allocate time for them

  - review how you spend your time, ie reacting, thinking, planning, implementing, reviewing, etc

  - differentiate between tasks that are urgent/not urgent, important/not important, ie need to concentrate on urgent and important; the most neglected area can be 'important but not urgent', ie things you need to do but there is no urgency. Examples may include finding time to read about wider business and societal issues, management and leadership concepts, etc

The aim is not to reduce what you do in a day; it is to get better value from your use of time. (for more details, see time management in the Knowledge Base))

3. Being curious through busyness (choosing curiosity which involves an interest in continually learning and understanding, despite the daily work pressures; different from arrogance which is based on the belief that you know enough, ie thinking more highly of your current knowledge and abilities rather than of their potential levelsThis; never be too busy to act on curiosity; it means looking at things as a new experience, ie 'newcomer experience'.

As newcomers are not entrenched in the established way of doing things, they have a chance of offering a fresh perspective

"...Being curious isn't just reflected in asking questions and exploring ideas......also seen in our attitude to, and action toward, continuous learning..."

Rebecca Newton, 2019

Broad curiosity is

"... wider interest, not just wanting to have specific pieces of data or job-related questions answered, was related to positive framing (when people try to change how they understand the situation, intentionally choosing a positive lens for the way in which they see it). People with a desire to explore and look for a diverse range of data......were more likely to try to change their understanding of the new situation......was positively associated with 'taking charge' (when an individual ventures to change the status quo where, for example, procedures or policies are inefficient)..."

Rebecca Newton, 2019 

Includes reading and researching areas beyond your expertise to broaden your perspective.) 

4. Choosing wisdom (wisdom is

"...broadly defined as a flexible and appropriate application of pragmatic reasoning to the challenges of social life..."

Rebecca Newton, 2019

Wisdom can be defined in terms of competence, ie

"...a system of expert knowledge regarding fundamental life domains..."

Berlin Wisdom Model as quoted by Rebecca Newton, 2019

Another way of looking at wisdom via 3 characteristics, ie cognitive, reflective and affective

     a) cognitive (goes beyond just acquiring facts

"...to being motivated to attain a deep understanding of life (particularly intrapersonal and interpersonal matters) and human nature (including awareness of our inherent limitations, such as the fallibility of human knowledge and the unpredictability of life circumstances..."

Rebecca Newton, 2019)

     b) reflective (refers to the willingness and ability to invest in self-examination and look at things of different perspectives; researchers found a positive relationship between wisdom and happiness; reflectivity tends to reduce self-centredness and leads to a deeper understanding of one's, and others', Thismotives and behaviours

     c) affective (concerned with the acceptance of, and sympathy for, others; linked with a compassionate motivation towards helping others, including wider society (what is good, right and just for society) and general positivity; wisdom is different from intelligence and reasoning as it includes the practical application of knowledge, the use of knowledge for the common social good and the integration of impact and knowledge; wisdom can be developed by   

- practice mind-stretching routines (develop the ability to grasp the true essence of a challenge by  

i) understanding the basis of a problem or situation, ie looking at the causes rather than just the symptoms
ii) understanding the big picture, ie 'taking a helicopter view'
iii) continually constructing and contesting hypotheses, ie experimenting      

- choose intellectual humility (involves recognising the needs of others' inputs; means recognising both the limits of our own knowledge, perspectives, etc and others'ThisThis is limitation; Solomon's Paradox: you are less wise when reflecting on your own personal situation, perspectives, emotions, etc than somebody else's; realising that no one individual has all the answers and we are all subjective rather than objective in our analysis

- develop wise habits (wisdom is not static, it develops over time and importantly by reviewing past experiences; there is a positive relationship between wisdom and coping, ie handling stress and adversity by developing a broader perspective; holding yourself accountable and not making reasonable reasons/excuses for no action; be realistic and about what you can achieve

"...it is not necessarily what happens to us, but how we face, cope with, and reflect on the challenges that makes the difference when it comes to growing in wisdom..."-

Rebecca Newton, 2019

NB It is how we perform when things are going against us, like in adversity, that is an important measure of wisdom.

Research has shown that the greater the exposure you get to develop relationships with people from a wide range of communities, interests, expertise, etc, the greater your level of career achievement. Some questions to help explore this include

- Who has had the most impact in the past?    

- Who has the most impact now? 

- Who would complement your development, ie be prepared to go outside your organisation?   

NB Need to find people to help you who have good character and practical wisdom.)


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