Long-term leadership: Succesful managers are not tempted by quick-fixes
Some leaders spend most of their working lives on symptom management and ‘putting out fires’, while others have realized that the road to motivated employees, low absenteeism and extraordinary results is better achieved through long-term leadership. We have composed some good advice for those of you having the courage to jump out of the hamster wheel and take the time to work with a leadership concept which lasts – even in the long run.
by Yvonne Evers and Maiken Vørs Jeppesen
As a leader perhaps you recognize the familiar scenario as a: You want more time for your employees and more time for what you think is the most important, but your crisis-calendar and a number of external circumstances have taken control and are determining your priorities? Against your will, you may have ended up in a routine of daily symptom treatment and easy quick-fixes, because the world moves so fast, that you struggle just to keep up!
Naturally, we are not experts on your leadership, but we refer to the scenario above, as we unfortunately see more and more executives perform, what we call ‘short-term management’. Why? Because in a busy everyday life with numerous tasks and pressure, it is often tempting – and sometimes actually the only way – to do what is effective, fast, easy and working – right here, right now.
The problem is that often this type of management is only effective and working on a short term basis, and as a leader you can be left with the feeling of never really getting to the bottom of things.
Long-term leadership calls for courage
If we as leaders are going to create extraordinary results with crucial effects – even in the long run – then we must have the courage to dive deep under the symptoms and address the core problems which might be difficult at times and maybe even hurt a little. Only then, we can really change things. It all starts with one first important step: When you as a leader step into the driver’s seat, take control and form a working culture where the distance between decision and action is not too short.
However, the question is what you as a leader can do to get yourself, your organisation and your employees on the right track? Sometimes only a few changes are necessary, while at other times it might require longer time to get to the bottom of things. No matter what, with the key to long-term leadership, you will end up with an effective organisation, and proactive employees who feel responsible for the strong and important goals you set together, in order to lead the business into the future.
5 steps to Long-Term Leadership
Below we have composed 5 effective steps for those of you who would like to work with your long-term leadership. The 5 steps in the Leadership Pyramid are based on acknowledged, well documented and proven leadership theories and methods:
- To-do or not-to-do! Take control of your leadership conditions: Clarify your strategic leadership priorities and conditions. It’s not only about doing things the right way, but especially about doing the right things. Do the mapping of the capacity of your leadership, understand and work with the mechanisms of your organisation, create a not-to-do list, and decline meetings and tasks that do not contribute constructively to the functions of your leadership area.
- Ready for the future! Develop the necessary leadership skills: Make sure you develop your leadership style and competences to put you in the front as a leader. A proactive leader who constantly seeks development and sets the pace has the best platform to develop his/her employees and organisation. Keep yourself up-to-date with relevant knowledge of what the future calls for, and make sure that you continuously develop your leadership style, skills and functions.
- 360o strategic leadership! Make extraordinary leadership results: Leadership often takes place in a cross-section of interests, and as a leader you are constantly faced with dilemmas and paradoxes. Employees look up to and expect you to lead the way and solve the problems. You can make your leadership resilient and stronger by being more aware of the underlying processes in the organisation, and by targeting your efforts with a 360o You make strong results and increase your influence, when you do not only perform your leadership from a top-down perspective, but also lead up, out of and across the organisation.
- Take ownership of your leadership! Your leadership gets convincing with proactive leadership values. When you actively choose to become a leader with all what it stands for with clear leadership values, your strong leadership will encourage people to follow you. If you have compromised your leadership values for too long, now is the time to build a firm and bullet-proof leadership foundation, being 100% clear on what you want to achieve, and what your values are. Spend the time on determining your ‘leadership DNA’ and make a clear statement.
- Plan your dream trip! With a clear leadership vision, it will be easier to find the way to the goal: In a stressful business life only a few people take the time to deal with anything else but the daily tasks. Don’t blindly follow the obvious track but ask if this track is really leading you and your employees in the right direction? Have you set the compass on the right course? Instead, plan the dream journey along a better track, and set the expectations for the future with a clearly communicated vision. When your leadership GPS is set in a clear and unambiguous way, it will be motivating and engaging for your employees, making it much easier for them to embark on the journey to achieve your goals together.
Long-term leadership is not a miracle cure and it requires hard work, but you will soon see the signs of improvement and development – especially when you retrieve your motivation as a leader. Because with long-term leadership you can perform conscious leadership based on a strong and effective leadership foundation.
Leadership workshops and articles
In addition to an effective workshop in Long-Term Leadership, which goes into depth with each step of the Leadership Pyramid, we regularly publish articles concerning the concept of Long-Term Leadership.
About the authors:
Yvonne Evers, Partner: Is Business Psychology Advisor, NLP Master Practitioner and a certified coach. She has many years of experience, both as a facilitator and from the public as well as the commercial companies, where she has developed and managed several HR functions as a HR manager and director. She has also participated in many strategy and change processes. Yvonne’s work is characterized by enthusiasm, humility and respect for the position and circumstances you work within. Her informal approach will ensure an open and honest dialogue, and at the same time providing you with a lot of knowledge and tools.
Maiken Vørs Jeppesen, Partner: Works as a Management Consultant, advisor and coach for leaders and is an internationally certified facilitator. With +25 years of experience, she is an acknowledged facilitator, process consultant, coach and lecturer in the development of people, teams and organisations. Maiken works with the development of leaders on all levels, and she facilitates processes for both the public and commercial sectors. In her management consulting, Maiken draws on a long managerial career with strong experience in strategy and people management. She is known for her direct and empathic approach and her ability to translate theory into applicable leadership practices.