Tuesday, January 4, 2011

You Want To Get Things Done

You are a leader and a change agent. You want to get things done. It isn't easy; there are so many constraints. "Command and control" leadership is out; you can't just tell people what to do, especially Gen X and Millennials. Today you have to be a "transformative leader," getting people to buy into your vision and goals.

You may not even have direct authority over the change process. You have to rely on "soft power," using collaboration, shared interests and negotiation to move your organization forward.

You can still be successful in this demanding environment by increasing your political and organizational savvy and raising your Emotional and Social Intelligence. One skill to work on is getting the right balance between perseverance and patience - knowing when to push hard and when to step back to give people time to process or deal with other priorities.

A great description of this type of leadership comes from a profile of Ruth Simmons, President of Brown University, in The New Yorker about 5 years ago:

"Yet she has certain well-honed political skills: she knows whom to consult; she chooses her battles; and she carefully builds support."

A role model for us all!

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