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LEADERSHIP IS A PROCESS OF SOCIAL INFLUENCE, WHICH MAXIMISES THE EFFORTS OF OTHERS TOWARDS THE ACHIEVEMENT OF A SHARED GOAL.
Friday, September 04, 2009
Here is an interesting article - http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1112311.html%20- - from the Israeli press about Tal Ben-Shahar (http://talbenshahar.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=38&Itemid=52 ), formerly a teacher at Harvard but now based in Herzliya, just north of Tel Aviv. Ben-Shahar began his career lecturing shipping officers on leadership and motivation but is now a recognised global expert in the area of positive psychology.
A key role of the quarterback in American Football is to direct all the offensive plays and to be a leader on the field. Here is what Barkley says about taking on a leadership role for the first time in such a high profile game -
Winning Ugly is the smart attitude in tough times. It’s fast and furious, rough and ready, profoundly emotional. What does it involve?
- Expect the unexpected. No one has been here before. If you feel you’ve got it under control – you’re probably headed in the wrong direction.
- Control the controllables. There are some things you can control – so control them! Costs. Suppliers. Sometimes your people!
- Focus on what’s core
- Act fast. Consumers aren’t waiting for your next planning session. Fail fast, learn fast, fix fast.
- Face Forward. Stand tall. Be brave. Don’t let your clients play it safe. Inspire them with your confidence.
- But Winning Ugly is not just for tough times. It’s for every time.
In reality, Roger Federer didn’t really Win Ugly. What he did was refuse to lose. He didn’t fold, didn’t give in, and didn’t back down. He only broke Roddick in the very final game of the final set. Roddick played liked a champion but Federer never gave up believing. As Vince Lombardi said, “Winning is a habit”, and that’s what got Federer through. He simply wasn’t prepared to lose. He reached into his memory bank and remembered that he had won 14 Grand Slam tournaments. Roddick didn’t have this to fall back on. Federer's strategy was Winning Ugly personified. In real terms, it was “not losing”. Even though Federer was mostly outplayed during the game, he just would not admit defeat. He didn’t beat Roddick, he just refused to lose.
When these tough times end, those people that have adopted this approach will come out even stronger than before.
In the article, he talks about how in today's economy there is a danger that the prevailing mindset becomes a negative one and that in order to lead a switch to the idea that we are poised for a recovery, leaders need to “lead at the edge” – or – in other words, lead the way to a positive mindset and a state of inspired energy. Moving forward requires a mindset change and that means taking control by strengthening one’s resolve to “play to win”.
The first step is for leaders to actively understand the pain that they and their people are going through. With this empathic state, leaders can then direct employees to look towards the benefits and opportunities often buried within a crisis. Playing to win requires good risk assessment, a clear game plan and most importantly, the ability to inspire people through knowledge and new ideas to join the ride.
Leaders who can genuinely help people to see that “a change has a benefit” can turn “being a hostage” and being helpless into an active engagement. This is what it means to “play to win.” The opposite is focusing on fear and avoidance of pain which is then in fact “playing not to lose.”
Once again, notice the close parallels between the concepts applicable in sport and in business; the hallmark of the Positive Leadership approach to developing a 'game plan for winning'.
Here is an interesting article by Professor Bill Fischer of IMD - http://www.imd.ch/research/challenges/TC039-09.cfm .
In it he argues that in today's extremely volatile world, business leaders need to think about re-engineering the mindset of their managerial team as well as re-engineering the DNA of the organisation. This means being willing to 'fail often in order to succeed sooner'. A key to competitive success will be the ability of the leader of the organisation to energise the people around them with inclusion, respect and empowerment.