The greatest challenge for businesses today are no longer lack of resources and inputs, inefficient systems applications and structures to bring about the desire results but the effective leadership capacities to harness the corporate agenda for managing same these interrelated functionalities to promote and address the best cultural values with robust support systems, policies and strategies to achieve the expected results.
The often time understanding of leadership has been misplaced to mean positional and not dispositional. Leadership achieve results in spite of situational challenges and perennial confrontations. This series seeks to delve into the critical leadership viewpoints, navigate through the factors that contribute to building resilience in leaders to champion successful business outcomes as well as to define the organizational resilience culture for structural development and or the protocols and adoptions that would ensure the effectiveness of structures, policies and disciplines for the accomplishment and excellence in performance.
Who is an Effective Leader?
Many people in leadership positions believe that to be an effective leader, they must be the smartest person at their company and if they are not, all will somehow send a signal to their staff that the leader is somehow inept. But no one is an expert in everything and as a matter of fact, the strongest businesses are built on the smartest people and not on one person. According to Brian Scudamore, the strong leaders don’t fight to have the first and last word. They listen to their teams, ask the right questions and give everyone the chance to contribute. Instead of trying to do it all, they find people, who can do it better. With the right people in place, the leader can take a step back to focus on his/her strengths. Great leaders aren’t know it all who constantly try to outshine everyone. They admit when they are wrong and genuinely want to learn from others. At the end of the day, it’s not about being the smartest person in the room. It’s about building a team with the smartest people who capable to achieve results.
The Art of Leadership
Many people love positions of leadership because they usually come with perks and some level of prestige. However, perks and prestige do not make a leader. To become a leader, you have to bear in mind that the real cost of leadership is self-interest. Without this awareness and the willingness to sacrifice yourself for the good of those being led, people in leadership positions abuse their authority for their enrichment. The worst thing is that, they sacrifice their people in the process. Leadership work for their team, however, often, this is not the case. People will sacrifice for their leader when they know that their leader has their back and does the same. Once that sense of security erodes and the team cannot trust their leader, commitment level starts to decrease, and the team begins to lose all inspiration and this eventually reflects in abysmal performance. The keynote point here is, if you want the perks of leadership, you must be willing to pay the price of leadership.
In Discovery series 10, I described leadership as the inspiring thought of bringing to mind those who have exuded vision, belief and passion and qualifies as an embodiment and a shining light in the dark of all to follow and creating passion, contagious belief in a better, more sustainable future for all. Great leadership demonstrate that by inspiring the inner core of those he leads, define a new reality, and make possible what seems impossible and unimaginable in the first place. Leadership connects and identify with those they lead to unleash the full power of passion, tenacity and perseverance. Much more so, those occupying the seat of leadership possess the ability to see the bigger picture, look beyond current realities to envisage the new future. Leadership changes mindsets and creates belief to show the future that doesn’t exist yet is possible.
Leadership that’s for the greater good and is prepared to stand the test of resilience requires the essential qualities of integrity, courage, humility and humanity. Leadership is about doing the right things even when nobody is watching, have the courage to make hard but necessary decisions, the courage to abandon the past, the willingness to learn, unlearn and relearn as well as the courage to be the change they want to see. Leadership that excels and achieve phenomenal heights creates an exceptional culture of learning, thinking and debating. Besides, he surrounds himself with the best and brightest hands even if their opinions diverge from his own. More importantly, leadership that works always are seen to challenge the conventional protocols of previous generations and abandon them where they fall short of the ideal principles of his own.
Having addressed who an effective leader is and how they are supposed to act in leadership, it’s equally critical to place in context and discuss the underpinning factors and relevance of leadership remaining resilient.
The Resilient Leadership
Leadership at different levels of an organization face different challenges. Resilient leaders consciously develop skill sets to enable them learn, master and overcome the challenges that confront the business and threatens its success. To the resilient leader, these qualities are fundamental and crucial for the maintenance and survival of the wheel of organization running:
Leadership Control– speaks to the uncertainties with meeting expectations and objectives by leadership. Greater requirement of leadership control of self and of management of systems, procedures and guides are but essentially crucial and imperative to produce the desired results. Leadership learn to embrace this culture to control systems, manage self and produce effective teams to ensure an enduring and effective organizational structures that culminate to enhancing sustainable results.
Commitment and Unity of Purpose- Being resilient requires that leadership cultivates the nature to first acknowledge that the task ahead and the management of team are daunting and challenging and would require higher commitment by all to surmount the heavy hurdles ahead. Leadership needs to balance this personal commitments with trusted culture of openness and self-reliance. Note that, once there is enough confidence in the systems and structures built, both the leader and the people automatically become committed. This singular effort cements, bond and align individual contributions and efforts into clearer action plans and strategies for execution. The saying that, great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds is an assertion that leadership needs people of common minds to drive home common purposes. It’s imperative therefore to build synergies to receive support to curtail all shocks.
Connections/Effective Partnership-Great leaders always admit that, they cannot do it all alone but would need the collaborative support of team and other key partners. They leverage on great connections and partnerships to make impacts for satisfactory job performance. That leadership spirit of having unshakeable faith in partnerships, the vision drive, and the unrelenting confidence in power to make positive change happen engenders motivation in teams, foster greater cooperation and engineered commitment by all to remain resolute to stay the course. The leader first take the steps to inspire positivity and optimism of purpose to reinvigorate and receive support from those leadership leads. The fore knowledge that, there could be down turns as leadership maneuvers and navigate through for success and achievements strengthens and offer platforms to build back up support strategies .
Situation Awareness– The confrontational challenge that, leadership stops, backs off and relent on efforts to pursue that great dream, mission, and objective as a result of the seemingly unsurmountable challenges remains a thorny subject for leadership discussion. The art and culture for cultivating the habit to stay resilient in spite of the great number of challenges that confront leadership is foundational and expecting. The challenge of staying human in the middle of leadership crises and confrontations comes down to how leadership responds to the sufferings around. Owing to this, the right and or the responsibility to be aware of what leadership is predisposed to, is non -negotiable.
Fundamentally, the culture to cultivate resilience, adaptability and overall well-being during these extraordinary circumstances of leadership, request that certain practical steps be taken to drive the achievement of results, the ability to take initiatives, skills in collaborating with teamwork, knowledge sharing, and the ability to lead the team with clear roadmaps, structured policies and the discipline for execution would eventually ensure phenomenal results. Efficient management without effective leadership in knowledge is not a substitute. No management success can compensate for failure in leveraging in leadership knowledge.
Generally, three main perspectives on organizational resilience can be distinguished. The first group of scholars understand resilience as an organization’s ability to resist adverse situations and or the ability to recover after disturbances and return to a normal stage. For instance, there is a school of thought that defines organizational resilience as “a firm’s capacity to maintain or restore an acceptable level of functioning despite perturbations or failures. Different cases have been developed to help explain organizational resistance. On one breath, resilience is seen to imply that disturbances have no significant consequences as they fall within a firm’s coping range (impact resistance) and on the second case means that a firm is able to recover from impacts that have exceeded the boundaries of a firm’s coping range (rapidity). In both cases, the emphasis is generally on coping with strategies and the quick ability to resume expected performance levels. This phenomenon describes this organizational behavior as “strategic defense”.
A second group of scholars also have looked beyond the maintenance and restoration of organizational functionality and focuses on the advancement of organizational processes and capabilities. This school of thought opines that, organizational resilience is “a firm’s ability to effectively absorb, develop situation-specific responses to, and ultimately engage in transformative activities to capitalize on disruptive surprises that potentially threaten organization survival. According to this perspective, organizational resilience can be understood as active and purposeful coping with unexpected events. Resilient organizations possess a set of capabilities that enables them to adapt, integrate, and reconfigure internal and external resources and competences to match the requirements of changing condition.
Building Organizational Capacities for Resilience.
In highly volatile and uncertain times, organizations need to develop a resilience capacity which enables them to cope effectively with unexpected events, bounce back from crises, and even foster future success. The Interest in organizational resilience has steadily grown in recent years, especially when there is little consensus about what resilience actually means and how it is composed. More knowledge is particularly needed about organizational capabilities that constitute resilience, as well as conditions for their development. Research findings prior to writing this article established that, organizational resilience has been conceptualized and decomposed into three successive resilience stages (anticipation, coping, and adaptation) and give an overview of underlying capabilities that together form organizational resilience. Based on this outline, I will discuss relationships and interactions of the different resilience stages as well as main antecedents and drivers.
Fundamentals of the Resilience Process framework
As a first step towards this framework, there is the need to define the resilience process as the dynamic interaction between the organization and the environment. From this perspective, resilience means to effectively respond to adverse events, not only after adverse events, but before, during, and after as well. Accordingly, these three successive stages of the resilience process are argued to respond not only to the past (reactive action or to current issues (concurrent action), but also to the future (anticipatory action). This temporal structuring of the resilience process follows similar approaches within the crisis management systems.
To describe the three resilience stages in more detail, other studies have it that organizational resilience is an offensive response to unexpected events (adaptation) instead of a defensive response (resistance and/or recovery). This means that the first stage of the resilience process refers to the attempt to anticipate critical developments and potential threats and be prepared. Beyond that, an offensive response comprises a purposeful coping during critical situations as well as some kind of adaptation, transformation, or learning after critical situations have occurred.
In conclusion however, I wish to emphasise that high performing leaders and their teams dify all odds and employ every advantage possible in executing business strategies to stay resilient and remain successful . To that effect, John Wooden summarized success leading through the people as;
(a) Putting in place a robust system to be followed
(b) Promoting a solid cultural foundation
(c) Aggregating “actionable intelligence” (data and information) to get better and
(d) Being able to manage each of the people on an individual levels.
This mark of resilience in leadership, remember, gets the people thinking and playing at levels they never thought possible. And as a leader, you cannot just win on talent and hard work alone but it takes the ability to interplay well together multiple factors to execute and get the desired results as well as remaining sustainable.
Discovery….Thinking solutions, shaping visions.
Frank Adu Anim
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The writer is a holder from University of Ghana and GIMPA BA in Political Science and MBA Finance respectively. He is the CEO and Strategic Partner of AQUABEV Investment and Discovery Consulting Group. He is an Executive Director and the Lead Coach in Leadership Development and best Business Management practices for Discovery Leadership Masterclass. He has authored several articles in Leadership, Business Strategies and Organizational Planning under Discovery Leadership Series. Frank has significant experience in Business Development, Strategy and Finance, Deal Origination, Transaction Advisory, Investment Consulting and General administration. He has interest mentoring and coaching young business entrepreneurs through Discovery Business and Entrepreneurship Program. He was a nominee for Global Excellence Business Leader Award by the Swiss School of Business and Management, Switzerland.
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