Get inspired by our 19 thoughts
Challenge and inspire your leadership story by exploring our 19 thoughts. They are based on successful leadership practices, cases and the latest academic research. You can use the thoughts in the leadership dialogue in your team or as mirror for your own leadership.
03. Self-determination & motivation
People want to chose for themselves. They don’t like to be told what they need to do and how to do it. That doesn’t mean that people don’t need guidance, rules or structure. But the more people and teams can act out of free will, the more they will be motivated to take responsibility for the consequences of their actions and to continue to learn. Let direct control go.
04. Results & teams
From a functional perspective, the job of the leader is to mobilize people to do the right thing for collective success. Leadership is instrumental for results and facilitates group dynamics and work. Success and the road to success can be defined in a direct and rational way in a simple environment. A more sustainable way to define success in a complex environment is an indirect, more oblique way
05. Awareness & empowerment
Awareness of yourself and the context enables more precise and effective actions and interventions. More awareness leads to humility, more listening, accepting and less talking. To being more part of the system and leaving more room for others to lead and less one-way talking and directing. How much do you fill the room with your talk, presentations, strategy, solutions?
06. Responsibility & change
The elephant in the room is the necessary change that everyone avoids, the work required to adapt. Leaders bring reality into the office, uncertain about the path to follow, but convinced that action is needed. They give direct feedback, don’t accept stalling or excuses and take responsibility for what needs to be done. Are you afraid of the elephant in the room?
07. Homogeneity & diversity
Leadership is inclusive. Leadership protects the voices of the minority and dares to confront intercultural differences. This way leadership avoids the trap of group thinking and cloning and stimulates innovation and creativity. Leadership understands on the other hand the importance of cohesion and homogeneity. People need a sense of belonging to contribute to the group. Too much confict or diversity undermines this.
08. Development & mindset
Leadership develops other people and development starts with building self-confidence and offering psychological safety. Therefore development is not only a privilege for those who are talented. Leadership doesn’t classify people into good and bad. The right mindset is the developmental mindset: everybody can grow. Development is all there is. Do you truly belief this?
09. Context & modesty
There is no such thing as leadership that works for every organization. Leaders immerse in their context and become part of the system before trying to change things. They learn about the institutional forces of their context and take them into account. The first thing to do “when new in town” is to observe, listen and adapt.
10. Freedom & choice
Develop your sense of freedom as the source of leadership. Leadership doesn’t wait for the coach’s call. Leadership has no safety net. It’s a personal choice and an act of free will to take responsibility for changes that you want to see happen. This involves taking personal risks and accountability for your actions.
11. Influence & reciprocity
Giving makes people want to give back. That’s the law of reciprocity, the most fundamental and universal way of gaining influence and impact. The starting point for leadership is not “what can others do for me?” but: “what can I do for the others.” Giving is a powerful way of gathering social capital and developing an effective network.
12. Trust, power & authority
People take risks with other people because they believe in the good intentions of these people. This kind of trust is the core raw material for leadership, not positional power or authority. On the contrary. Trust can not be gained by force. It depends on competence, benevolence and integrity. Leaders are masters in building trust and repairing it if needed
13. Stability & innovation
The main task of leadership is to adapt people, teams and organizations to changes in the context. This adaptive work puts pressure on the natural tendency towards stability. Leaders upset the status quo up to the point that people can handle their loss and pain and start adapting. Leaders are masters of ceremony of mourning processes.
14. Authenticity & integrity
Truth comes before politics. Leadership looks for the truth and the beauty of it. But being an authentic leader is more than being true to yourself. It’s being true to multiple selves: your own true North, your team, organisation, universal values… Growing as a leader in an integer way, is integrating more and more value systems in a personal way.
15. Systemic thinking & politics
Leaders don’t wash their hands in innocence and initate change as outsiders. They are immersed in the system and are part of the problem. They act in full awareness of and with great respect for the existing forces, checks and balances in the system in order to accomplish sustainable, institutional change. They need to be system thinkers and smart politicians
16. Spirituality & sustainability
Leadership goes beyond creating value for only shareholders and strict bottom line thinking. Economic success is no longer enough to be legitimate and sustainable as an organization or a leader. A more holistic, societal perspective on organizations and leadership is needed, taking into account the interests of multiple stakeholders. This puts the soul at work.
17. Being the example & sensemaking
People follow what you do, not what you say. The question for leaders is: “which example do you want to set? Which action or behavior do you want to be copied?” Leadership is not talking about necessary changes. The road is unpredictable. Leadership is starting to walk and trusting that you will be followed. Learn to increase your coherence and integrity as drivers of trust and influence.
18. Storytelling & identity
Leaders know who they are and what they want to do for which reason. They act purposeful, living up to their story. They lead by being, not by telling or selling. Leadership development is identity work: questioning, clarifying and aligning own motives and values with the expectations from the context. What do you and your people stand for and how do you convey this?
19. Leadership development
Leadership is the alignment of the agenda you have with the world, with the agenda the world has with you. Leadership development is developing the alignment between both agenda’s, and living up to them. Coherence and essence are the hallmark of of the leader. So: what’s your story?