Leadership is a journey, not a destination. And because of the circular, cyclical nature of this leadership journey, it sure does help to have a leadership wheel to help you accomplish your leadership challenges – and speed you on your journey.
How can The Leadership Wheel help the hard-pressed leader today accomplish those challenges?
How The Leadership Wheel can help you every day
First, The Leadership Wheel is built around the massive research that has gone into The Leadership Challenge. We’re talking of over 30+ years of research in over 40 different countries. So there is nothing theoretical about this – it is based on empirical research, and sound.
More importantly though, the research has found out what followers expect of their leaders. Taking the followers perspective means that we can be confident that, if we apply the Practices in the Leadership Wheel, we will get the results that we desire. If you would like to find out more about the Five Practices in The Leadership Challenge, you can read a summary here.
A lot has been written about Leadership but it’s perhaps unfortunate that, with all the reams and reams of text written about leadership, a lot remains unclear.
One of the problems is that so many different leadership theories abound. Here is a quick run through of the major schools of leadership thought:
1. Leaders are born, not made. ‘Great man’ and ‘trait’ theories are based on the concept that leaders rise when they are required, or that leaders possess certain personality characteristics that mark them out for leadership.
2. All leadership is down to the situation and environment. Another school of thought tells us that there is no one ‘way’ of leadership. Instead, leaders respond to the situation at hand – their resources and goals, the status of the environment, and adapting a style (eg authoritarian vs democratic) according to the needs of the followers.
3. Leaders are made, not born. As opposed to (1) above, behavioural theories tell us that leadership can be learnt, and improved through observation, reflection, and practice.
4. Transactional vs. Transformational. This school of leadership focusses on a scale of rewards and punishment on the one hand, and ‘intrinsic’ motivators on the other, which the leader uses to get the best performance from his or her followers.
All of the above schools of thought have elements to recommend themselves. However, there is another, perilously overlooked, vital factor to consider…
The followers’ perspective!
Following their massive study (which remains ongoing) spanning 30 years of research into followers’ opinions in over 40 different countries worldwide, Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner (authors of The Leadership Challenge) discovered that followers want their leaders to do 5 things:
1. Model the Way. Followers want their leaders to have clear values, achieve shared values among the team (or organisation) and follow them every day.
2. Inspire a Shared Vision. Followers want their leaders to create an inspiring and exciting vision of the future by enlisting their efforts based on shared aspirations.
3. Challenge the Process. Followers want their leaders to be outward-looking, opportunity-focussed and willing to experiment and take risks to continually generate small wins and learn from experience.
4. Enable Others to Act. Followers want their leaders to foster collaboration by building trust, and to strengthen others by empowering them and developing competence.
5. Encourage the Heart. Followers want their leaders to recognise their contributions, and celebrate the values and victories by creating a spirit of community.
Kouzes and Posner also found that the above behaviours were learnable – leading to their development of the world’s #1 leadership training programme, The Leadership Challenge.
Choose the best…
If you believe the followers’ perspective matters, and that you like your learning to be based on sound research, then why not check out The Leadership Challenge, which has been going strong for over 30 years and is now recognised simply as ‘the world’s most trusted source of leadership’.
This ensures the Leadership Wheel is effective.
The Leadership Wheel also links the Real to the Ideal. It does this by starting with the concept of power. Very few leadership tools (if any at all) do this. This one does.
The first victory to win is the Private Victory. That means, mastering power. It’s impossible for leaders to Model the Way (the First Practice in the Leadership Wheel) without first winning their Private Victory, and thus mastering power.
The process is an ongoing one, and the more they go through it, the more leaders start to win their Public Victories.
This means using the skill sets contained within the Leadership Wheel to mobilise their followers effectively, by acting on the 5 Practices of Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act, and Encourage the Heart. These are the Practices that followers have said they want their leaders to have, from the research covered in The Leadership Challenge.
If you want to use The Leadership Wheel, do this…
You can download a pdf of The Leadership Wheel here.
If you would like to put The Leadership Wheel to work in your life you can do so by attending The Leadership Challenge Workshop or feel free to contact us using the form here.