Recently, I spoke to a group of CEOs about the widening gaps in leadership. One of the growing trends I shared is that leaders are becoming more and more complacent. Rather than turn the spotlight of accountability on themselves, there was a tendency to shine the light of accountability onto others.
Leaders must take greater ownership to remain relevant for the organizations and industries they serve. Being an effective leader is hard work – harder than ever before, because it requires continuous renewal and reinvention. Few are those who welcome change – even though it is necessary in order to evolve.
As a leader, you must have the stamina for the fight – to let go of the old ways of doing things to be significant again. Leaders that remain complacent put their organizations, employees and the customers they serve at risk. leaders fail in their primary responsibility of in people and the organizations they serve. They are the ones at greatest risk of becoming irrelevant if they don’t evolve how they lead so that the business can grow and compete in the 21st century.
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Here are three ways you can avoid becoming complacent – so that you can stop unknowingly creating tension in the workplace and start understanding the unique differences of those you serve.
1. Leaders must learn to adopt a new mindset
Leaders that lack the ability to reinvent themselves are those that get caught in the trap of complacency. What leaders need is a new mindset. A mindset that takes them from melting pot to mosaic, from substitutional to evolutionary thinking, from knowledge to wisdom, and from survival to reinvention. Leaders must embrace an entrepreneurial spirit to maximize the utilization of resources and form relationships with employees and customers – with a mindset that creates stronger alignment and builds momentum.
2. Learn to take on more ownership
As leaders, we must turn the spotlight of accountability on ourselves as we strive for excellence – and help guide the evolution of the organization’s future and that of our employees and customers. Leaders must focus less on playing it safe and more on making themselves more accountable to solve for the right things. Time is wasting, yet too many leaders are not willing to take on a new level of accountability that requires them to roll-up their sleeves and get their hands dirty.
The most important ingredient to great management is accountability. Without accountability, the ability to manage doesn’t exist. Great management is holding yourself and those around you accountable to deliver results. In the end, managers are accountable to be accountable. The reason most people don’t succeed in work or in life is that they are not accountable enough to themselves or to those they serve. Accountability means leaders must work with a generous purpose and sustain high levels of reciprocity in an effort to be more intimate with their customers and employees – to stay 5-10 steps ahead of the game to assure that they and their organization are never blindsided. If they don’t, they will quickly lose their impact and influence, and whatever momentum they have gained will just as quickly be gone. Accountability demands that leaders take ownership of their actions to assure the marketplace never passes them by.
3. Embrace diversity of thought
Too many leaders gravitate toward likeminded-ness rather than invite fresh perspectives to strengthen outcomes and unveil possibilities previously unseen. As leaders, we must guide the creation of an inclusive environment that communicates our organization’s core beliefs and values; we must evolve the culture and set the right tone toward maximizing the full potential of everything we influence. Leaders must embrace diversity of thought to unite people – and through our influence, bring others along by valuing their unique contributions and differences to make the organization stronger. Being intimate with the business elevates our self-awareness and broadens our observations to see opportunity in everything – opportunities previously unseen and that others don’t see at all.
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