Thursday, December 08, 2011

Do you have permission to lead?

CEOs, and most of us, have to earn our permission to lead.

While as leaders we want people 'in behind us', or following, the challenge is how to truly engage people so they want to follow the direction we set.  

How to choose the right direction to start with? How to consult or adapt our vision to one that our teams find compelling? Then how to build an unswerving committment among the team to the vision, mission, strategy and values?

Australians are not natural followers. We like to think that in fact we do think for ourselves.

We want our leaders to stand for something, be worthy of following and take us somewhere worth going. And yet many leaders - many of us - do not do justice by our colleagues, clients and staff by communicating those things well.

We struggle, overloaded, to get through our meetings, priorities and business plans. We don't stop often enough to reflect on whether what we are communicating is going to help us reach our goals - or take us and those who rely on us further away from them.

This quarter BlueChip has focused on leadership communication. To us, the golden rules are these:

- be visibly committed;
- be contextually aware;
- be clear and consistent: in personal brand and leadership style.

At a recent BlueChip CEO Breakfast, a straw poll of the industry heads present suggested leaders in financial services understand how important it is to lead through good communication - and yet finding time to invest in their own communication ability is hard.

It's one of those 'important but not urgent' jobs.

But leave it too long and it will be both urgent and important.

What can each of us do to lead better through our communication?

Invest in it. Make time, get a coach, go to training.

Plan. Actually think through the role communication can play - and make sure it does.

Practice. Get feedback. Improve. And persist. 

This blog post is taken from the most recent edition of PRognosis, the quarterly BlueChip PR thought piece. Last edition was dedicated to leadership communication.To subscribe, simply drop us an email.

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