We need Genuine Leaders To Transform Organisations

There is a lot of talk about leadership right now, and not just in political circles. Charismatic or celebrity leaders get much more press than great leaders. Why is that?

I think it is because when we are talking about great leaders they embody a set of  characteristics that include:

  • Seeking out and recognising potential champions
  • Building people up
  • Being true and aligned with your stand whilst listening to challenging opinions
  • Setting aside political aspirations and self-interest
  • Being the champion of and in service of the strategic intent
  • Being open and honest
  • Taking care of your people
  • Listening with respect to everyone’s communication
  • Being appreciative of the efforts of others
  • Being true to your word
  • Expressing yourself fully
  • Inviting dialogue

None of these was newsworthy for today's clickbait media until Russia invaded Ukraine.

When these characteristics are applied by leaders, the outcomes are extraordinary because people around them respond with a like mind and obstacles get removed instead of being created by self-interest.

Do you agree?

What characteristics would you add to the list? Please comment below. 

For leaders, one valuable realisation is that leadership is a demonstration of integrity.

Integrity here is not a moral judgement.  It is a judgement of how things fit together - or don’t.  This can be seen as the deepest level of integrity.

Integrity is the most personal of qualities: groups and societies cannot possess it until single mortals have it in hand (DrLT*). It is adopting a set of timeless beliefs to hold firm in order to maintain your identity and integrity throughout your life (WB*). As we emerge from a time of mistrust and the selfish pursuit of power and wealth, there has to be some kind of process to bring the art of living into the day-to-day management of our organisations. 

There has always been a complete difference between the way individuals relate to their colleagues in business, and the way that they relate to their friends and family. In the latter group kindness and tolerance are not regarded as sentimental and wet, but as required behaviour to make the relationship work. 

Can one parallel this in business now? The difference between the two sets of attitudes is beginning to narrow and that may be the answer to tomorrow’s problems (RE/PR*). 

As a leader, if your purpose is to increase intelligence, to lift people up, to increase self-esteem amongst those you lead and to sacrifice your self-interest, then you are able to live with integrity.

Gallup's 2020 report on The State of The Global Workplace identifies a staggering number 69% of employees believing that corruption is widespread in their business and their country. It goes on to say that trust and ethics are core elements that need to be ingrained into the corporate culture.  They also state that creating a culture of trust and ethics is good for business too.

How would you know a great leader?

A great leader’s purpose is to increase intelligence, to lift people up, to increase self-esteem amongst those you lead and sacrifice your self-interest, and live with integrity.

Leaders who demonstrate these characteristics…

  • Seek out and recognise potential champions
  • Build people up
  • Are true and aligned with their stand whilst listening to challenging opinions
  • Set aside political aspirations and self-interest
  • Are the champion of, and in service of, the strategic intent
  • Are open and honest
  • Take care of their people
  • Listen with respect to everyone’s communication
  • Are appreciative of the efforts of others
  • Express themselves fully
  • Invite dialogue

The term we use for this kind of leadership is Clean Leadership.

Clean Leadership starts with competence in areas such as consistently speaking the vision and living by it and demanding that those who have signed up to it also live by it. To be competent in Clean Leadership requires holding people to account, to their word, which includes you the leader. It requires rigorous compassion, a condition that engages people in sticking to the rules and playing the game the way it is supposed to be played. Clean leadership is a demonstration of integrity.

It is a foundational element of the Power of Organisation. Our new book will be published shortly, to find out more and register your interest click below.


*Excerpts from Dr Lewis Thomas, William Boyd and Roger Evans and Peter Russell


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