Strategic Action Leader–Risk Taker not just talker.
“Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes… Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action”.
Peter Drucker Happiness is seeking a balance between pleasure, commitment and meaning – a sense of purpose in one’s life. Happy managers will find it useful to apply this thinking to themselves, and to the people they manage. This final quote again echoes this fundamental philosophy of “The Happy Manager”. Drucker argued that the critical question we should all ask ourselves is not:
“How can I achieve?” but “What can I contribute?”
One thing you need to be as a leader is the ability to take strategic action with limited information. In other words you must be a risk taker. One of the most often overlooked aspects of leadership is the need for pursuit. Great leaders are never satisfied with traditional practice, static thinking, conventional wisdom, or common performance. In fact, the best leaders are simply uncomfortable with anything that embraces the status quo. The new leader is always imaginative, focused on quality, truthful, and aware of what’s next, of what to do in times of rapid change and how to produce value and results by being of service to others
So now let us examine –what it means to “walk the talk ” of leadership. I’ll examine the value of being a strategic action leader. Here’s the thing – pursuit leads to visible “walking the talk”. What you act on will determine your journey , the people you meet and connect with,, the character you display and ultimately, what your happiness and fulfillment in life. Having a mindset focused on strategic action is critical to leadership that lacking this one quality can be costly. The manner, method, and motivation behind any action is what sets truly great leaders apart from the masses. If you want to become a great leader, become a strategic action leader no matter what position you occupy in the organization.
A failure to embrace opportunities and be action orientated is to a follower. A leader’s failure to act relegates you to the routine and status quo. Your failure to take initiative leaves you stuck with the present situation. Your failure to be action orientated subjects you to be marked as expendable and of little value to the organization. Let me put this as simply as I can – you cannot attain what you do not act on.
Smart leaders understand it’s not just enough to have a vision of where the organization is going, but action and risk must be a part of it. Action must be consistent, focused, assertive and thoughtful. You must take action on the right situation at the right time to the right people by weighing risks and upside potential. Perhaps most of all, the best action is thoughtful and strategic. Agility and building coalitions to accomplish your goals are the cornerstones of leadership. Leadership at the core is highly dependent on collaborative, inclusiveness and transparency. The greatest strength of leaders is the ability to leverage resources and relationships.
I also want to caution you against trivial pursuits – don’t confuse leadership and strategic actions with tactics. Outcomes are clearly important, but as a leader, it’s what happens after the outcome that you need to be in pursuit of. Pursue discovery, seek dissenting opinions, develop your ability unlearn what you have learned by embracing how much you don’t know, and find the kind of vision that truly does see around corners. Knowing what not to act on is just as important as knowing what to do and when to do it.
It’s important to keep in mind that nothing tells the world more about a leader than what they do. – that which you do not what you say is who you are as a leader. If your message to your organization you value talent, but don’t treat people well and don’t spend time developing the talent and rewarding them, then I would suggest you are a hypocrite Put simply, you can speak all you like, but your actions will ultimately reveal what you truly value.
What’s been the best thing you’ve done as a leader of others’ this year? When and where have you “walked the talk” of an action leader either at work, in the community or with your family? Based on that personal evaluation what do you commit to differently in 2010?