What is your leadership type?
In their studies of admired leadership traits across six continents, Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner discovered that, for the past 12 years, ‘forward looking’ is the second most desired characteristic among team members.
Constituents consistently say that they would like their leaders to be ‘forward looking’, and to have ‘a long-term vision or direction’ yet, as observed by Kouzes and Posner, management’s attention to identifying people with vision and ‘long-term orientation’ is woefully lacking and, perhaps, exacerbated by Head Office focus on quarterly results.
Apart from being a highly desired characteristic of team members, having a long-term vision ensures companies and business units identify and capitalise on the opportunities that really matter.
So how can managers avail themselves of this trait?
Explore your Past
A lot of great research has been done on ‘vision’ and ‘strategic thinking’. As part of our Leadership Challenge programme, participants learn of ‘The Janus Effect’. Put simply, this is a study where Omar El Sawy of the University of Southern California asked CEOs to look into the future at events that may happen to them, and then review events that took place in the past. He divided them into two groups, one of which started with the future events, the second of which started with the past events.
Surprisingly perhaps, those CEOs who listed their past events first had significantly longer time horizons than those who listed the future events first, showing that the practice of looking to the past really does help look further to the future. For this and other practices we wholeheartedly recommend joining The Leadership Challenge seminar.
But is their more to strategic thinking than gaining specific skills and making them daily practices?
The DNA of Strategic Thinking
After over 80 years of research and development in understanding human talents at the Johnson O’Connor Institute, it’s clear that long-term vision (and strategic thinking) is greatly hard-wired.
In other words, it is inherited (through our DNA) and nurtured through the formative years of our youth.
The trait of being ‘Forward looking’ then, is an instinct, something we are born with, and something to a greater or lesser degree that we either have or haven’t got.
Skills and practices can make up for a lack of this instinct, but then we are minimising weaknesses, not building and maximising our strengths.
Our propensity to be forward-looking is discovered through the Highlands Ability Battery, an objective assessment which helps individuals discover their talents – the hard-wiring relating to which tasks and roles come most naturally to them. The research over the decades has identified this talent as ‘Time Frame Orientation’.
“The further back you look, the further forward you see“
The Practice (of looking to and learning from the past) is most effective when combined with the Talent (of Long Time Frame Orientation).
We recommend organisations assess the talents of their future leaders to identify this trait, as well as other traits, essential for the leadership role.
If a manager doesn’t have this natural ability, then it does not mean he cannot assume a leadership role demanding it.
However it does mean, in our experience, that he needs to be aware of his leadership type and make sure that he has a colleague on his team for whom ‘forward thinking’ comes naturally. Failure to have this awareness can be, and often is, disastrous.
Begin with Talent
Because of this, we always recommend managers to begin with Talent – identifying the natural abilities of themselves and their team, so that they can play individuals to their strengths.
Talent Factor is a great one day programme which enables participants to:
- identify their talents
- learn how these combine to form natural roles (like strategic decision-making)
- combine individuals into a team where they play to their strongest roles
- gain awareness of blind spots and weaknesses and find individuals with strengths in these areas
Follow up with Practices
Once these characteristics have been shared, we then recommend teams to follow up with a programme such as The Leadership Challenge so that effective practices are instilled.
The combination of the two programmes in this order ensure that both individuals are effectively integrated into teams, making the role of leadership that much easier!
If you would like more details on how the above can be implemented in your company, please feel free to call our office on +662 6393550 or email us using the form here.
Talent Technologies :: Taking your Talent to a Higher Level