Over the past 10 years undertaking change management facilitation and coaching leaders using the Human Synergistics Leadership Impact (LI) and Lifestyles Inventory Tools (LSI), one of the lessons I have learnt is around the difficulty in obtaining a ‘real’ sustainable change in leadership behaviour. Some leaders really embrace the feedback from a coaching process and others find it very difficult to make the shift to becoming more constructive.

This is increasingly difficult when you are coaching a group of leaders through an organisational transformation process, which requires stronger and constructive leadership impact.  Some leaders “lean in” and embrace their role in leading change, whereas other leaders find it difficult to make the shift.

The core to leading change is how the leadership team as a collective work together and lead the organisation in a united manner.   This means all the leaders being on the same page around how to lead the organisation and their words and actions being in synch with these key messages.

During one of my workshops recently we discussed the importance of keeping things simple when it came to leadership and providing senior leaders with a simple list of do’s and don’ts so that everyone was aligned on what it looks like.  This is a powerful way to ensure we are all clear on what it means and what it doesn’t and it can be used to check in regularly as a leadership team on what we are doing well in relation to the list and what our focus needs to be in terms of improvement for the next period of time.

To assist my clients with this, I have developed up a list of united leadership do’s and don’ts linked to the 10 core leadership prescriptive strategies in the Human Synergistics Leadership Impact (LI) tool.  (More information on this tool can be found here.

Spend time collaborating with other divisions
Listen to others before speaking in a group discussion
Remain calm under pressure
Encourage people – say supportive things
Maintain perspective
Focus on the bigger picture and the outcomes we are looking to achieve
Speak positively about other people
Be clear on what you expect (black & white), focusing on the what not the how
Spend more time getting clear on a problem than jumping to a solution
Provide regular feedback
Provide clear decision making autonomy (black & white) to staff
Push decisions to lowest level possible and supporting decisions made by subordinates
Walk the office talking to people
Open communication to staff (weekly stand up meetings, transparent KPI reporting, regular communication)
Reward and recognise people who are team players and show integrity
Plan, plan, plan
Promote continuous improvement and learning from mistakes
Establish clear objectives and expectations at team and individual level
Compete with colleagues
Have an opinion on everything
Get visually frustrated when things don’t go your way
Be stressed and tense
Criticise and find faults
Get stuck on details or technical aspects
Talk negatively behind people’s backs
Comment on exceptions and deviations
Focus on what you don’t want
Tell people how to do their jobs
Jump to the solution and being the smartest person in the room
Avoid feedback
Have unclear decision authority
Override decisions made by subordinates
Crisis communication at irregular intervals
Keep things confidential or not sharing information
Punish people for making mistakes
Treat mistakes as failure
Be reactive and just in time
Promote compliance
Mixed messages between corporate plan and day to day expectations

The do’s and don’ts are based on how leader’s insecurities including the need to control or need to keep others happy plays out in how they lead teams, vs constructive leaders who look to empower others, facilitate innovative problem solving and set clear direction.

As we all have insecurities and all can have bad days, the purpose of the do’s and don’ts is to make effective and united leadership a focus for leadership teams.  The challenge is to then hold each other accountable to these do’s and don’ts through your regular meetings.

After reading this blog, take some time to reflect on your own leadership and how this plays out in the do’s and don’ts.  Are we clear on what it truly means for us as a united leadership team?  If not, what do we need to do to make it clear and understood by all so that we can create the constructive environment that our staff are wanting from us as leaders.