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6 Practices That Will Transform Your Leadership

Updated: Mar 4, 2021

by Cilette Harris

The time we live in asks for impeccable leadership. We live and work in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world. The effectiveness of our leadership determines how well we, and the people we lead, respond to the challenges and opportunities in the environment. It also correlates closely to sustainable business performance. I believe that right now we are learning much to prepare us for leadership in rapidly evolving human and organisational contexts. We can use this pandemic to practice being more effective now and in future.

The questions to ask ourselves are firstly, whether we are, deliberately and consciously, using this opportunity; and secondly whether we are learning and transforming ourselves in the process.

Bob Anderson and Bill Adams describe leadership as a set of practices (Mastering Leadership, 2016). The consistent application of these practices transform how we feel and think about leadership and how we approach (our intrinsic landscape) and live (our extrinsic impact) it.

Our growth lies in how we see and interact with the world – and requires us to:

  • Be self-aware and curious about our impact

  • Learn by asking for feedback and making the time to reflect on what we hear

  • Take a meta view and inquire whether we engage with a Reactive Mind or a Creative Mind.

As we grow and mature as human beings, our leadership effectiveness quotient increases. We move through several stages, and our progress, so to speak, is determined by the work we put into our development. Bob Kegan’s Stages of Development Framework (1998) is still recognised as one of the most useful, as it integrates leadership and organisational development, i.e. it recognises that organisational potential and transformation rely on leadership effectiveness. Anderson and Adams used this model as the foundation for the 5 stages of development they describe – refer to the model below.

As we mature through these stages, our mind set changes.

With each evolution of our leadership consciousness comes greater capacity, capability, and mastery to meet complexity with greater leadership effectiveness. What we concern ourselves with enables organisational performance and business success.

Ultimately, our identity – our concept of self - is restructured and we deploy ourselves with more impact in each situation we face.

So how do leaders who operate from an intrinsic Creative Mindset, differentiate themselves? How do they create outcomes that matter in the face of difficult circumstances and events?

The following practices are also attributes which characterise effective leaders who have mastered the inner and outer game. They make up what Anderson and Adams refer to as ‘a spiritual bootcamp for leaders’.

Practice 1: Discern your Purpose

1. Figure out what matters, stand for it and create it,

2. Determine your ‘musts’ – what do you really want your life to be about? Then live this life, purposefully and courageously;

3. Trust your inner voice when purpose is speaking,

4. Pay attention to what life is telling you about who you are and what you a