Transformational Skills and their application as Leadership Imperatives

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Recently replying to a Linkedin discussion group under the heading: What are your four timeless key leadership imperatives? , we posted the following as the timeless leadership imperatives:

— Help others so that they can help themselves.

— Always keep an eye on the “stake holders” and their needs.

— Use what you have learned and learn what you need to know.

— Everyone is a leader; your role is transient until someone else takes that role!

Here we discuss how these leadership imperatives are linked to the Transformational Skills:

  1. Help others so that they can help themselves

Words do have meaning. But, if the same word has different meanings between the leader and the team, then there is no common language. Words which are frequently used such as Product, Process, Application, Manufacturing, Science, System, Output, etc. need to have the same meaning between the leader and the team. Ensuring the Common Language is an important Transformational Skill.

While every leader has the instinct to help, it is not often possible (a) due to a lack of role clarity (b) Expectations are mismatched and /or (c) delegation is absent. But, frequently all of these are evidences of a more fundamental problem (i.e.) Absence of a common language!

2. Always keep an eye on the “stake holders” and their needs.

Stake holders are not synonymous with Shareholders. This is the frequent folly of many leaders. To recognize the Stake Holders, the leader will need system thinking, the perspective of a larger picture. Stake Holders are all those who contribute their inputs to the leader’s role viewed as an Input/Transformation/Output system. Every input is a cog in the wheel! Any cog that is ignored and hence becomes weak will in due course render the wheel dis-functional!

3. Use what you have learned and learn what you need to know:

Individual core capabilities are: Knowledge, Experience and People Skills. Core capabilities of any team are: Science, Engineering and Management (Strategy and operations). Core Capabilities of any enterprise are: Finance, Technology (not limited to Digital Technology) and Market drivers. Any leadership effort involves manipulating the Core Capabilities at three levels: Individuals, Team and the Enterprise.

Ultimately the role of the leader is one of a watchman who is fully aware of these core capabilities at each level and deploys them to the fullest extent. It is equally the role of the leader to look for and learn about the holes in the core capabilities and fill them systematically

4. Everyone is a leader; your role is transient until someone else takes that role!

We call this emotional intelligence for leadership. Leader is always one who helps others who in turn can help themselves. This self-help will be fully evident, when the leader’s role is no longer required. That does not imply that the leader himself is not required or useful any longer. Through his/her knowledge of the three dimensions of core capabilities, the leader would have already transitioned to new efforts and initiatives. This of course will also depend on the culture cultivated in the team!

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