Nonprofit Performance 360 Issue 12
How can we deal with conflicting leadership styles? Ballou: Just because we think we are effective leaders, others may not have that same understanding of what defines an effective leader. Often leaders unintentionally set up problems without understanding the consequences of their decisions and actions. Knowing how we show up as leaders, and understanding how we influence others, is crucial to building a high-performing culture and getting the intended results. Individuals must enter into a partnership or collaborative engagement with understanding and by communicating what defines leadership for each person with decision-making responsibility. The foundation of a healthy enterprise is built on leadership. Nothing happens without leadership. Let’s be sure that everyone understands it the same way. Magee: Leadership is more art than science, management is more science than art, and this drives the conundrum of what is right and wrong. Looking at conflicting leadership styles may not be where the attention should be. It may be more a question of whether conflicting leadership styles align all resources, human capital talent, and initiatives towards a universal goal. How do we manage unclear roles and expectations? Ballou: Everyone in a system must have a role and responsibility and it must be written. In addition to this definition, which is basically what each person will do, there needs to be a statement of desired outcomes, that is, what is expected from each person. Without clearly written expectations that are timed and specific, each person in the system creates their own definition of expectations, which typically isn’t communicated until things go wrong. A position description includes the following: 1) description of the position, along with qualifications; 2) clear definition of roles and responsibilities; 3) clarity of culture fit (alignment of values and principles); and 4) performance expectations. Without these written guidelines, we are setting up conflict. Magee: I have advocated that clarity of roles and expectations is essential as the key performance indicator drivers toward everything that individuals and organizations undertake. For accelerated success and alignment of engaged individuals in diverse and inclusive organizations, you must understand two essential talent factors: first, what tasks you expect them to perform, what duties they will have, and what responsibilities they will have.This must be done first because it leads to the next crucial step: what knowledge the individual must have, what skills they must demonstrate, and what abilities are required to perform the role you plan to put them in. As a wake-up call to talent management, if a person does 100 percent of their expectations, job description, etc., then on any subsequent performance review, that person must be scored as Meets Expectations and never anything higher – they did the job they were aligned into and paid to do or that they volunteered to do. We have created a global talent performance crisis of underserving personnel by scoring above-performance optics when, in fact, many have never even arrived! What is the importance of personal work ethics? Ballou: Everyone believes that they work really hard, but that’s not a specific and quantifiable definition of work ethics. Some leaders work until a set time and then stop for the day. Others work overtime and take work home. It’s likely that the person who perceives that their level of efficiency lets them quit on time might create resentment in the person who works longer days and takes work home. It’s important to create a covenant agreement defining value received for value contributed, and defining how that manifests in terms of time and other values contributed. We have differing styles, pacing, and abilities. Talk about how those differences can complement each other. Define results over time. Magee: Work ethics are a result of what people have seen and learn to model. Work ethics are a result of what peers, leaders and organizations condone and reward. And work ethics are a result of what society tolerates. What about personal problems not related to, but impacting, the partnership? Ballou: Understand the person you intend to work with in the partnership and know about them, what they value, and their life outside of the enterprise. If the person you intend to work with has extending circumstances, such as huge debt, family issues, pending lawsuits, etc., those could impact their ability to perform and, ultimately, the results and identify of the enterprise. Each person in the organization represents the brand. Know the potential liabilities upfront before committing too far. Magee: Identifying the core needs that are the drivers to human behavior and the psychological needs of others is smart.When you can align these, you, your partners, and the partnership you serve will create magic! How can we set and maintain healthy boundaries? Ballou: There is a huge difference between a leader and a BOSS. Nobody likes bossy people, including partners. Setting boundaries is healthy. Knowing when to intervene with the other person, knowing how to talk about complex and sensitive issues and situations, knowing how far to go in asking about personal information, are all examples of why setting healthy boundaries is crucial to relationships and systems. Managing self is the first and foremost priority of an effective leader. Organizational transformation begins with transformation of self. As Richard Rohr says, “Transformed people transform people.” Be a transformer, starting with yourself. Magee: Exactly!
SynerVision Leadership .org I 41
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