First of all, I hope you have had an awesome summer doing the things you really care about.

My summer was nothing short of amazing. Four weeks prior to our planned family vacation, I ended an engagement with one client and I chose not to take on a new client until after our family vacation. That gave me four weeks to reflect on past experiences and to develop my own skill-set to help even more people.

During the first week, I attended the four-day Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching certification. The process will be a great tool for helping leaders reflect on how they perform compared to top global leaders and how their behaviors impact their performance. To learn more about the process, please visit this page.

During the final three weeks, I spend a lot of time writing about and reflecting on how leadership styles impact organizational performance. I truly believe that people are generally doing their best within the system of which they are a part. As framed by W. Edwards Deming, it is, therefore, up to managers to change the system if they want people to perform better.

The most effective, maybe the only, way for managers to truly change the system, is to identify the need for change themselves. Start by reflecting on these fundamental questions every manager should ask:

  • What are my values?
  • What do I stand for?
  • What is my purpose?
  • What kind of a leader do I want to be?
  • What kind of example do I want to set?

You might want to block some time on your schedule and find a quiet place where you can think. Once you have the answers, try to bounce them off the organization for which you are working. How do your values fit the values of the organization, etc.? If there is a gap, consider what compromises you are willing to make and to what extent you will be willing and able to help the organization change.

As a result of my reflections, I will focus even more on Agile leadership coaching and training in the future. My goal is not to save bad managers who should never have been managers in the first place. My goal is to help successful leaders become even more successful by raising their awareness on how their behaviors impact others. Especially in organizations that are transforming from traditional hierarchical ways of working to the Agile network-like cross-functional structures, it’s paramount that managers lead the way in creating a culture of trust, pursuance of a higher purpose, and increased engagement throughout the organization. I can’t teach a leader at a bank anything about, for example, amortization, interest rates, or mortgage credit; however, I might be able to help him communicate his vision and goals in a more compelling and engaging way.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below. How was your summer? Do you regularly pause to reflect on your values and leadership style?

Photo credit: Selfie taken on the ferry with my kids heading to the Danish isle of Samsø for our family summer vacation.

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