James Kelly and Scott Nadler authored a terrific article
“Why leadership below the top is needed for fostering
This article resulted from a study of how businesses succeed
through solid leadership behaviors. The behaviors focus on two
- commitment to assume leadership and
- fostering leadership thinking.
In addition to those is a third–
- distilling clear values of what is appreciated and has
merit (added the third item).
Commitment to assume leadership
In the commitment element, Kelly and Nadler recognized
the need to move from the ‘in-charge’ posture to the forward
looking position. In so doing, forming a gap in what needs to
be accomplished on the day-to-day level and find other ways to
meet the needs.
I especially liked the idea of looking for signals from outside
their organization, including “customers, competitors,
A good leader thinks that he works with his subordinates,
shares the information he receives, keeps things clear and simple
and looks for a mental organizational chart where leaders connect
with everyone, rather than having layers of separation.
Effective leaders commit to leadership by developing
‘trusted adviser’ skills. They understand how to turn conversations
into meaningful discussions, listen more than they
speak, and ask questions that broaden perspectives.
Leaders who go far don’t try to “time things” as much as
‘recognize good times to infuse, refresh, adjust, and question.’
This can be done by creating the need for a solution rather
than imposing a specific solutions. Leadership is broadened
to others by
- opening up “what if” questions and thinking through to logical endpoints.
- discussing what the core beliefs mean to them and listen to the
translation to others
- refreshing the radar screen of risks and impacts ;
requirements, expectations and demands so that others
can see and pick up on the changes.
Distilling what is valued into values.
This is transformational thinking not mentioned in the article.
It is like Southwest Airlines “being the lowest cost airlines”
by translating how every team member can contribute to
the success of the enterprise.