There are several good ways to lead. You can
- Conduct. You know what is and what is needed. You decide what others are to do, how they are to do it, where, and when. You evaluate their ideas and work based on what you know is right.
- Coach. You help others find and apply their juicy goodness to the work at hand. You help them navigate and learn to navigate better and better. You also teach: you show them how to do tasks, how to think about things, how to build skills. You invest in them.
- Collaborate. You work as a peer with the people on your team. You encourage everyone to contribute their best ideas and efforts. You jointly evaluate ideas and approaches based on outcomes. You facilitate.
- Convene. You set (or steward) the structure: the goals, the mission, the ground rules, the bounds for the work. You describe people’s roles in terms of measurable results. You set them loose within the structure to achieve the results as they see fit. You help clear obstacles that may pop up.
We tend to do one or two of these. We need to do them all. Each person at different times will need a different form or blend of forms of leadership from us. Different situations will need a different forms of leadership. And, critically, your organization will need more of one form than another in the various phases it goes through as it evolves and grows.
Take dysfunction in your organization as a sign: the organization is asking its leaders to become more nimble. Understand these four ways of leading and bring each to bear as needed.
In your corner,
PS: Conduct, Coach, Collaborate, and Convene…Cute, eh?