If a problem persists for years, it is no longer a crisis. It’s a condition.
Many organizations face situations built upon shoddy foundations of myth, tradition and common-sense practices.
The current state of affairs has prevailed so long they are now the accepted conditions. It’s a condition of “everyone else does it that way” shadows. It yields a world of confusion and conflict, unruly minds and unraveling customer experiences.
How Do You Lead?
Leaders face these conditions head on. They embrace the fact that to lead is actually to be out front.
True leadership is primarily focused on the future. Then it focuses on the present.
Unfortunately, most leaders including association board members spend the majority of their time on present issues. When this happens, the organization rarely rises above the level of their leaders and only responds to yesterday’s issues. They are only reactionary.
A person can lead by:
- Managing crisis
- Managing status quo or
- Managing the future
Sure every leader has to manage crisis from time to time. However, the very definition of a leader—to be out front, to help people move from where they currently are to where they need to go—requires a different mindset. It requires studying, reflecting on and planning for the future.
Savvy successful leaders give up the details of many present-day issues to those qualified to do the job. Then they can spend their time evaluating, questioning, reflecting, thinking, deciding and guiding their organizations into a rich future.
Great organizational leaders grapple and wrestle with the future.
The Traits Of Effective Leaders
If we desire to take our organization into the future, we need effective leaders.
Many organizations need to confront the reality that their leaders and board members have been acting as passive trustees managing administration instead of being proactive leaders.
Here are some traits of effective leaders of healthy and forward-thinking organizations.
1. Effective Leaders Are Intentional
Effective leaders are deeply committed to intentionality. They do not lead by chance or accident only reacting when crisis hits. Intentional leaders champion strong direction and guidance that challenge their organizations.
2. Effective Leaders Empower
Effective leaders build structures, cultures and policies of empowerment. They allow staff to administer and manage the daily tasks. They focus on creating permission-granting cultures not permission-withholding cultures. And they challenge other leaders to empower as well.
3. Effective Leaders Are Action Focused
Leaders do things. They have a bias towards action away from the status quo. They are never content with how things are. They dream of how they could be and look for ways to accomplish the organization’s mission more effectively.
Action-focused leaders continually stir the pot in an attempt to move others out of stagnate comfort zones into outcomes based action.
4. Effective Leaders Positively Influence Others
Leaders influence others, even when they are not in a position of leadership. Their influence is positive, not one of bullying or lording over others. Their influence provides hope and anticipation.
5. Effective Leaders Are Bold
Most all leaders face fears of failure and rejection. Effective leaders know that some people will push back on change. However they lead with boldness as they have more courage than fear. They think about those that will take issue with them and challenge them to think differently. They know they will never please everyone.
What happens to an organization when its leaders only manage the status quo? How do you identify potential leaders that are willing to grapple with the future instead of manage tasks?