leading at a higher level

By October 20, 2009Leadership

I recently started reading “Leading at a Higher Level” by Ken Blanchard and associates.  It’s about how to create high-performing organizations.  They outline the flow of leadership this way: self-leadership > one-on-one leadership > team leadership > organizational leadership. Here’s my quick run-down …

Without self-leadership, the other levels of leadership will break down.  Self-leadership is the ability to “practice what you preach.”  At this level, leaders develop an internal compass that forms the backbone of decisions and actions.  While it’s possible to assume greater levels of responsibility without self-leadership, it’s not sustainable.  In positions that require a high level of trust, a leader who lacks an internal compass will not do the things that foster trust and respect.

One-on-one leadership is the ability to effectively lead another person towards a specific end or goal.  This requires the ability to adapt your leadership style to the needs of the individual.  Depending on the circumstances, a leader may need to be direct or assume a coaching role.  In one-on-one leadership there will come a time when the leader must decide to take a back seat and allow the other person to make decisions.  At this point, the leader takes on a more supportive role.

Team leadership is the ability to lead a group of individuals towards a mutual goal or outcome.  Team leadership is more challenging than self or one-on-one leadership because the leader is working with a variety of people.  Some may want to be there; others may have been required to be there.  There may be competing agendas and egos.  A leader at this level must be able to work with different people at different levels at the same time.

Organization leadership is the most complex of all levels of leadership.  This leader is leading teams of teams.  Change at this level doesn’t necessarily ripple down through the organization — it may roar down through the organization.  The ability to leverage the talents, abilities, passions, and experiences of an entire organization is a critical skill.  Understanding the past and seeing the future are prerequisites.

And all of this is from just one section of the book!