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Becoming a Holistic Leader: Directing

May 5, 2011

Hi folks. Today, I’d like to share with you highlights from the chapter of my ebook on Directing, a key element of Holistic Leadership. Be sure to download the ebook, which is of course FREE. Be sure to share a comment….Jim

Directing is a critical component for those in management positions, especially at the senior level. We read in the management literature how managers must possess certain characteristics. They need to be visionary and strategic, yet also have a burning sense of urgency to move forward. Furthermore, they must be results-oriented, and to achieve this means that they must be capable of mobilizing people. Directing encompasses five enabling elements:

 Vision
 Strategic
 Urgency
 Mobilize
 Results

That these five enabling elements are essential for effective formal leadership is not in dispute. But what about middle managers and employees? Little has been written on the need for people at the middle and lower levels in organizations to develop their skills for these five elements. However, they are critical skills to acquire if we wish to see a change in the culture of leadership in organizations.

There are three main types of leaders in organizations: senior managers, front-line managers and supervisors, and network leaders, or who are also called thought leaders. Network leaders comprise people at all levels, and are typically those working in non-managerial positions. They self-initiate, working across organizational boundaries, sharing information and linking people together.

All three categories of leaders must interact because they each possess certain strengths. Unfortunately, front-line managers have not been given sufficient attention with regard to improving their leadership abilities. In terms of Holistic Leadership, front-line managers need to ensure they develop the Directing component, because they’re the ones who are best positioned to mobilize their staff. They sit on the interface between senior management and staff, and tend to have a grasp of the big picture. This means they also need to be visionary and strategic, as well as results-oriented.

Network leaders are the seed planters, sowing ideas in their organizations and bringing people together. They work typically in non-management positions. Their interaction with front-line managers is vital, in terms of reciprocal sharing of knowledge and ideas. They also play a key role in influencing senior management. Network leaders need to ensure they develop the elements contained in the Directing component if they wish to increase their effectiveness.

Consequently, it’s important that we rethink our assumptions on the Directing component of leadership. These assumptions are oriented around power and authority and who possesses them in organizations. If we really wish to see our organizations evolve to embrace collaborative learning and shared leadership, then we need to shed some of our traditional beliefs on leadership.

Take a moment to read about an incredible corporate leader who portrays the Directing component extremely well….

Click here to download my new Holistic Leadership eBook, 2nd Edition

Visit my e-Books, Resources and Services pages.

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