Building a Resilient Leadership Culture
Resilient Leadership is a part of the culture. It is consistent, persistent, it helps people grow, and it is decentralized. It is something driven by a few key principles that eventually guide and empower the people in the business. Here is a list of some of those key principles and a follow-up self-evaluation of checklist question for each of them.
1. Being Driven by the Customer – The problem you want to solve, the big idea, isn’t yours. It’s the customer that it is big for. Unless the customer benefits from it, unless they are excited by it, unless they feel you’re obsessed about them, your vision is simply that – your vision, looking inside out. Checklist point – Do your project leaders ask this question often – what is in it for the end customer?
2. Owning the Solution – The problem might be the customer’s problem; the solution has to be owned by you and your team. The solution is yours. The results have to be driven by you. Unless you and your people feel confident enough to take the responsibility of something that goes wrong, you do not own the business. Checklist Point – Do your people think long-term and not sacrifice it for short-term results? Do your people ever say – it’s not my job?
3. Simplification and Innovation – Effective leadership is about making things simple, for everyone possible. Leaders innovate on peoples, processes, products, to ensure that new things are done, not just for novelty’s sake, but also with a larger vision in mind. Checklist Point – Are your people and specially your leadership comfortable being misunderstood for long times?
4. Strong Judgement and Good Instincts – Leaders are right A LOT. They don’t make a huge fuss about it, but people who are capable of driving leadership culture, are externally aware, they bring perspective from multiple domains, they have good instincts, and their judgement and reasoning is strong. They also consciously work to be aware of their internal biases, and to disconfirm their beliefs. Checklist Point – Are your leaders able to defend their decisions with data, with rationale, and at times also with pure simple instinct? Do their treat their people and their teams with the same space and freedom?
5. Hire and Develop the Best – Leaders are not insecure. They do not worry about whether or not they will remain relevant. They simply lead through coaching and example. They raise the bar with each hire, they are there for their people, they take their coaching role seriously. They work in the best interest of their people and talent and do not hesitate in willingly moving talent throughout the organization. Checklist Point – Do your leaders give into the pressures of salary slabs, and compromise on the talent they hire? Do your leaders refer to internal and external referrals? Do your people have the tendency, the desire and the temperament for supporting and developing everyone in the team?
Resilient leadership is about a lot of things, but most importantly it is about culture. It is about not just your top leadership behaving a certain way, but also about the values and principles percolating throughout the system. It must manifest in people’s actions, and resilient teams, and thus resilient organizations are bound to happen!