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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Karavattuveetil

Fly the W’s

Successful leaders seem to be in short supply these days as stakeholder demands get tougher and timeframes to accomplish get shorter. Leaders can improve their chances for success by following a few simple rules. Take care of your Whats, Whys and Ways to get people to willingly give 100% effort and support.

There must be clarity in what is expected of the leader in the role that he/she fills. This includes defining the leader’s critical stakeholders and how success will be measured relative to each. Problems occur when there is only lip service and no actions to back-up the talk. Do not assume that the leader always knows what others expect of them. Also, it would be wise to confirm what they expect from you. Even the smallest of discrepancies should prompt a conversation of clarification. A somewhat difficult huddle early may avoid deep conflict later.

But, why? Truly influential leaders provide the reasons for what they do and what they ask of others. They connect the dots for individuals and teams relative to important goals and objectives. Greater commitment is achieved with stakeholders’ clear understanding of purpose in decisions and actions. Successful leaders are also comfortable in being measured against agreed upon purposes and look forward to taking responsibility versus dismissing questions as unimportant or unnecessary.

Finally, in what ways will the leader accomplish what is expected? The most successful leaders outline the values by which work will be performed. They define the foundation on which stakeholders can depend in the carrying out of their duties. Can others count on the leader to be honest? Ethical? Show empathy? Are they willing to admit a mistake and make appropriate corrections? A solid and dependable foundation of “way” will support immediate and long-term leadership success.

Successful leaders are more important now than ever before. The complexity of issues and diversity of stakeholders require leaders to always be playing their “A” game. This involves delivering on agreed upon Whats, to accomplish necessary Whys, all in Ways that stakeholders can depend. How are you and your leaders doing with respect to these critical components of success? Take stock of what you have and what you are willing to accept.

Enjoy the journey!


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