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What Leaders Do Presentation slides

What Leaders Do

Action Centred Leadership (1)

Action Centred Leadership

Action Centred Leadership - The British Army’s leadership model.

In highly task-orientated organisations, the ability to balance the needs of achieving the task with the needs of the team, and the individuals within it, is easier said than done. This is particularly true given the range of challenges to navigate.

However, the Army requires its leaders to understand that prolonged exposure to the demands of high-tempo task attainment will ultimately lead to team and individual burnout. When the context allows, leaders must seek opportunities to reset that balance and dedicate time to developing individuals and to building team cohesion to achieve a sustainable level of performance.

  • Action-centred leadership not only requires a leader to understand the demands of the current context, but also their ability to interact, influence & shape the operating environment.
  • Arguably the most common challenge to balancing task, team & individual needs is a lack of time, compounded by competing demands and insufficient resources.
  • The highest-performing teams often operate at the extremity of the task ball [think Olympic teams]. However, such tempo isn’t sustainable long-term and leaders must enable time for team and individual needs where possible. If not, they will likely face burnout - whether themselves, their team or the individuals within it.

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Army Leadership Behaviours

Army Leadership Behaviours

The Army Leadership Code - how many of these behaviours do you exhibit in your workplace and would you change/add anything different to the list?

L.E.A.D.E.R.S

There’s more behind this catchy mnemonic than meets the eye. Born from extensive research conducted by Bangor University into transformative behaviours of instructors at the Army’s School of Infantry in 2006, when exemplified by leaders they can result in significant improvements in team and individual performance. That’s why they form the basis of the Army Leadership Code.

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Communicating The Why

Communicating the Why - Purpose and Vision

The most effective leaders communicate the ‘why’. Leaders who can evoke a sense purpose, vision or belief - the reason ‘why’ we do what we do - are the most effective at motivating and inspiring others. We follow them not because we have to, but because we want to.

The ‘why’ engages our limbic brain, responsible for our emotions and creating feelings such as trust and loyalty. This sense of belonging, reinforced by the release of oxytocin, causes a deeper connection between the leader and follower - we too believe in what they are saying.

Next time you have the opportunity to start a new project, set a task, or look to inspire your team, in the words of Simon Sinek: “try starting with why.”

 

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Coaching And Mentoring Fundamentals

Coaching and Mentoring Fundamentals

While coaching and mentoring are distinct approaches, the line between them is often blurred because they harness the same core skills: active listening, effective questioning, and facilitating reflection, combined with action planning. In fact, mentoring is most effective when coaching skills are used appropriately.

Mentoring is often described as ‘coaching plus’, as a mentor needs the same skill set and attributes as a coach. However, what a mentor brings in addition is their own knowledge and experience in a particular field and should be the reason why the mentee has chosen that particular mentor.

Mentoring has a typically longer-term focus than coaching which seeks to address improvement of a specified task or skill. It is also focused on the relationship between the mentee and mentor in eliciting and exploring areas of development and exploring possible solutions.

 

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The Support Spectrum

The Support Spectrum - Coaching and Mentoring

Myth: Possessing relevant knowledge and experience alone does not make you an effective mentor. While coaching and mentoring are distinct approaches, the line between them is often blurred because they harness the same core skills: active listening, effective questioning, and facilitating reflection, combined with action planning. In fact, mentoring is most effective when coaching skills are used appropriately.

Mentoring is often described as ‘coaching plus’, as a mentor needs the same skill set and attributes as a coach. However, what a mentor brings in addition is their own knowledge and experience in a particular field and should be the reason why the mentee has chosen that particular mentor.

Mentoring has a typically longer-term focus than coaching which seeks to address improvement of a specified task of skill. It is also focused on the relationship between the mentee and mentor in eliciting and exploring areas of development and exploring possible solutions.

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Active Listening

Active Listening Skills

Active listening is a vital skill in the tool kit of any good leader, particularly when engaging in coaching and mentoring. Some of the benefits of active listening are:

  • It fosters trust and rapport
  • It builds strong relationships
  • It assists in resolving conflicts
  • It avoids missing important information
  • It assists in identifying or anticipating problems
  • It develops deeper understanding
  • It empowers the leader and the mentee
  • It demonstrates emotional support
  • It generates collaborative solutions

Active listening is a learnable skill, and it is often challenging to break the habit of offering advice or solutions too soon. The purpose of active listening, particularly when combined with effective questioning, is to allow others to explore possible solutions to problems themselves. Here are some tell-tails signs that you might not be listening as effectively as you could be:

  • You are distracted or interrupt the flow
  • You don’t have sufficient time
  • You are bored or your mind is wondering
  • You find the problem too simple/complex
  • You are not in the right frame of mind
  • You hold a bias or make assumptions
  • You think you know where this is going
  • You offer advice too soon
  • You readily offer opinions or solutions
  • You judge or criticise

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Effective Questioning Matrix

Effective Questioning Matrix

When we jump to ‘advice-giving’ mode we’re not being effective leaders. Actively listening and asking effective questions develops growth in others by encouraging them to explore the root causes of their issues and to evaluate a range of possible solutions that best work for them.

As a leader, it’s all too easy to feel compelled to offer advice or solutions, often within seconds of hearing a problem, essentially ending the process of active listening. We have a tendency to do this because the sense of ‘not having a solution’ feels like we’re not adding value or that we’re losing control. 

Immediately offering advice stifles growth in others. It suggests they’re not good enough, that only we have the solutions. We become the ‘saviour’, reinforcing our own cognitive bias that our advice is superior - a greasy pole towards that toxic character flaw: narcissism.

Ultimately, advice given by leaders too quickly reduces the level of autonomy, creativity and resilience in others, as well as being more draining on the leader, as others become persistently reliant on them for direction and guidance.

Effective questioning can help overcome the urge to offer advice, builds the level of challenge to our questions, and encouraging deeper & more evaluative responses. Give it a go next time you get that overwhelming feeling to offer your advice.

 

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The Grow Coaching Model

The Grow Coaching Model

The GROW Model (Goal, Reality, Options & Way Forward) provides a sure-fire coaching framework to support others in identifying problems, exploring possible solutions and committing to positive action.

Is this a model you have used to support your teams? How effective do you think it is?

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Effective Coaching Strategy

Effective Coaching Strategy

When we jump to ‘advice-giving’ mode we’re not being effective leaders. Actively listening and asking effective questions develops growth in others by encouraging them to explore the root causes of their issues and to evaluate a range of possible solutions that best work for them.

As a leader, it’s all too easy to feel compelled to offer advice or solutions, often within seconds of hearing a problem, essentially ending the process of active listening. We have a tendency to do this because the sense of ‘not having a solution’ feels like we’re not adding value or that we’re losing control. Immediately offering advice stifles growth in others. It suggests they’re not good enough, that only we have the solutions. We become the ‘saviour’, reinforcing our own cognitive bias that our advice is superior - a greasy pole towards that toxic character flaw: narcissism.

Ultimately, advice given by leaders too quickly reduces the level autonomy, creativity and resilience in others, as well as being more draining on the leader, as others become persistently reliant on them for direction & guidance.

Having an effective questioning strategy can provide a useful framework to help overcome the urge to offer advice, and it elicits more exploratory responses and solutions to those responses. Give it a go next time you get that overwhelming feeling to offer your advice.

 

 

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Adapting Your Leadership Style (1)

Adapting Your Leadership Style

All leadership styles have their respective merits and pitfalls. However, the most effective leaders will be able to assess the prevailing situation and adapt their leadership style accordingly.

This should, of course, be situational - where high-pressure environments and leading through crisis may demand a more ‘directive’ leadership style - noting the likely impact upon climate and culture if needlessly maintained.

Whereas adopting a more ‘affiliative’ or ‘visionary’ leadership style during periods of relative steady-state activity will likely prove most effective in the longer term.

This diagram, adapted from Daniel Goleman’s 6 Leadership Styles, outlines the characteristics of the main leadership styles and the context for when and how each should be applied.

 

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Leader Follower Partnership Model

Leader-Follower Partnership Model

All leaders are themselves followers, and nearly all followers have the ability to lead.

Followership is the act of willingly accepting the influence of others to achieve a shared outcome. If leadership is a relationship, an interaction between two or more individuals, a leader must have someone to lead. Leadership and followership are, therefore, inextricably linked. They not only coexist but are mutually supporting and work together, driven by a shared purpose.

A ‘follower’, like a ‘leader’, is an assumed role - not an assigned position of authority. In turn, followership refers to the actions of one person or a group of individuals in a reciprocal role to that of the leader. A follower, therefore, is no lesser a role to that of the leader. It is often the changing context that will dictate which role is assumed by whom.

In the Army, the relationship between leader and followers extends beyond the typical superior-subordinate relationship indicative of military hierarchy and command. Sometimes circumstances will arise that require those in a superior position of authority to follow those who hold a more subordinate appointment. No one, therefore, is a ‘pure’ leader or a ‘pure’ follower - it is a dynamic relationship that is often dictated by the requirements of the situation.

To get the best out of the leader-follower relationship, participants must believe it is a collaborative partnership in which both parties have agency, and both are actively taking part in determining the outcome. The central cog in this partnership, uniting both leader and followers, is a shared purpose, informed by a set of shared values.

From Private to General, we all have a responsibility to follow.

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