Saturday, January 12, 2013

3 leadership ideas (and more)

Samad Aidane wrote a post last month on "essential leadership". He's got three ideas about how to define it:
  • A deep appreciation for diversity: No two brains are alike. A deep respect for the value that each person brings to a global project is mandatory and it can’t be faked.
  • A diagnosis mindset:  A diagnostic mindset will help you look at situations from a “researcher” lens to try to determine the factors at play so you can experiment with different solutions or interventions. 
  • Mindfulness:  Being present and aware and in the moment is a must to be able to observe how you are thinking, feeling, and behaving and to do the same about the other people’s mental states.
These are good ideas, but I think the bible for leadership for project managers is Ronald Heifetz's "Leadership without easy answers" (this links to an excerpt). The whole book is a favorite.

Here's Heifetz's concept
  1. Leadership is an activity, less so a thing, with a take action orientation: Set direction, establish cultural values, resolve conflicts, bestow protection and security, and restore/maintain order.
  2. Values and effective activity are separable: This is the "Hitler was a great leader" school.
  3. Leadership can be very technocratic, bordering on--gasp!--management; in effect, leading with the solution (I've got the answer right here; follow me! model).
  4. Leadership is often most innovative when driving adaptive participation, leading with the problem rather than the solution ("it takes a village" model); and
  5. Authority is neither necessary nor sufficient (you know you're a leader when .....), but if you got it (authority of position) you still may not be a leader