I recently typed “help me be a better leader” into Google and got over 50 million results in less than half a second. Go on … try it for yourself. But, if you do this and then select any of the first page search results, you will very quickly find they start talking about ‘things’ you should do to improve your ‘leadership’. Now let’s be very clear, my request to Google was about being a better leader and was definitely not about leadership development.
Am I being pedantic? No …
For me, the distinction is quite simple.
Leadership is a process. You can teach someone a process and it therefore follows that leadership can be learned. If we now add development into the equation, we end up with the situation where a process is being developed.
But, if I want to be a better leader it doesn’t follow that I need to know more about the process, what I really need is to know more about myself, my behaviour, and the impact of my behaviour on the people and followers around me. Only then, can I apply this through whatever leadership processes I encounter to be more effective in my outcomes.
Businesses and public sector companies across the world spend a fortune on leadership development programmes every year. They invest vast sums that may well help their people understand more about developing strategy, creating a vision, communicating with their team, handling change, implementing innovation, and let’s not forget all the different models, styles and approaches to leadership. Yet, these are all still process driven topics … so is it any wonder that organisations are not getting the real benefit from their investment and truly effective leaders are still in short supply?
Being an elite leader
Elite leaders stand out from the crowd. In some cases, they may have developed talents and skills, honed over years of experience, that others have not yet mastered. In other instances, they may have acquired some unique or special knowledge that is in short supply. Regardless of how much they know and what they have learned to do, an elite leader also has one fundamental ‘secret ingredient’ or ‘magic formula’ that gives them an extra edge … they all know how to ‘be’ an elite leader.
So, what does this look like in practice? Well, it is based on three key stages of development that an individual navigates on their journey to being an elite leader: Challenge Choice Change.
1. Challenge – elite leaders have a high degree of self-awareness
Elite leaders fully understand both them self and the impact of their behaviour and actions on others. They have a strong sense of their own beliefs and values, and know how these will affect their decisions and the subsequent actions they take.
2. Choice - elite leaders have strong self-regulation
Elite leaders stop and stand back from any situation in order to assess it and process the available options before taking action. They have a repertoire of behaviour that they can draw on and will make a conscious considered choice of how they are going to respond rather than reacting to the emotion of the situation.
3. Change – elite leaders are consistently flexible in their behaviour
Elite leaders know that they can only be effective when people choose to follow them. They constantly adapt and modify their behaviour to form a positive psychological contract with their followers and get the best outcome for everyone concerned.
I can hear you already … sounds simple and it’s just a basic coaching approach! Well, no, it’s actually a bit more complicated than that.
Challenge Choice Change
Based on 25 years’ experience of working with leaders from CEOs to front-line supervisors, military, police, education, manufacturing, public sector and many more, plus 5 years of focused research, Challenge Choice Change is a revolutionary approach combining the following:
A triple-loop coaching based model
101 NLP techniques mapped against a research-based framework of elite leader behaviour
4 influencing factors
6 global dimensions
18 situational elements
A signature modelling strategy to embed elite leader behaviour
By Lesley Hunter