The Journey Blog

Reflections on the art of leading

Leadership Shaped for the Future, Part 2

What do the most effective leaders in the private, public, and social sectors have in common? Here are five more things I've learned.

  • Effective leaders create an environment of collaborative learning that leads to high morale in their organization or team.
  • Effective leaders develop others, and love to see them shine and advance in the organization, rather than keeping them down.
  • Effective leaders learn and practice emotional intelligence. Daniel Goleman speaks to this as Co-Director of Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations. So does Relly Nadler's book, Leading with Emotional Intelligence: Hands-On Strategies for Building Confident and Collaborative Star Performers.
  • Effective, emotionally intelligent leaders foster healthy, organizations with high levels of respect and trust. They are able to enter the world of others with understanding. They view leadership as a place to serve not to be served.
  • Effective leaders also lead and think counter-intuitively, especially regarding “business-thinking” which Jim Collins, says is often merely average thinking and yet it endures as accepted wisdom.

Collins' research found that the best leadership practices within the social sectors can positively inform the private sector. Here are some text excerpts from Good to Great and the Social Sectors: Why Business Thinking is Not the Answer - (to see more visit his website at www.jimcollins.com.) Collins says,

We must reject the idea—well-intentioned, but dead wrong—that the primary path to greatness in the social sectors is to become "more like a business."
When you compare great companies with good ones, many widely practiced business norms turn out to correlate with mediocrity, not greatness. So, then, why would we want to import the practices of mediocrity into the social sectors?

 What I've learned is that leadership of this kind comes from transformed leaders, and that transformation happens best in a committed, honest, learning community.

In this season of my life one of my greatest joys is to form and facilitate the process within such communities. This fosters outstanding teams who work together to produce extraordinary outcomes—and have a great time doing it!

Increasingly the results of that transformed leadership in an organization are:

  • Destructive conflict is mitigated
  • Constructive conflict—a creative tension—flourishes
  • Diverse gifts, strengths, temperaments, and generations interact with mutual respect and appreciation
  • Things get done!

Next time, Part 3 — "Tolerance for Dissent"