Leaders and Managers see beyond the things that are and see the way they could be
“Have you ever felt like leading and managing people is like herding cats (a line of dialogue in Monty Python’s The Life of Brian)?
“Many of us have felt like that sometimes, and sayings like this provides a very clear image of the level of difficulty that is involved. As anyone who has owned by a kitty can vouch, it is pretty much impossible to get little fluffy to do something that it doesn’t want to do.
“Imagine you could understand and lead the behaviors, and hearts of your people, steering them towards becoming an engaged and empowered team; where they can achieve their personal goals as well as the organisation’s strategies and, business and human resource objectives.
“We all have paradigms or mental maps that impact the way that we interpret, and experience day-to-day life. These maps can be divided into two categories: the way that things are (realities) and the way that things should be (values).
“Leaders and managers are pivotal to the success of their people and in turn the organisation. Therefore, it makes sense to start here; and any endeavor undertaken that involves people; requires equipped, as well as self-managed and empowered leaders and managers.
“In the words of Marcus Buckingham “great leaders rally people to a better future”. Leaders are preoccupied with the future and carry a vivid image of what that future could be, and this image drives them as they rally others towards this better future or vision that they see – a vision that sees beyond the present is one of the foundations of leadership, whereby we increasingly open our eyes to see beyond the things that are and see the way they could be.
“He goes on to state that, a manager’s unique contribution is to make other people more productive, whereby the manager’s team is convinced that he or she was deeply preoccupied with the challenge of making them as successful as possible.
“In understanding the analogy of the human “cat” here we need to realize that, a lot like a happy cat purring, successful and happy people create successful, happy and high-performing teams, and organizations. However, a cat purring may not always indicate happiness. Some cats purr to express fear, stress or when they are hungry. Just like cats express how they feel through purring, we as human beings also express feelings differently.
“What, feelings in the workplace? What should we do with them? Yes, and Daniel Goleman suggests that we can navigate these emotions, emotive behaviours in the workplace successfully, by building the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, for managing emotions within ourselves and in our relationships.
“As managers and leaders, it is also important to first discover what makes each person unique (in our colleagues, friends and authority figures), and then celebrate and honour it. One of the biggest inhibitors when it comes to bringing out the best in our people, our teams, and for them to perform at their best, is not embracing and working with their uniqueness.
“Continuing with our cat analogy, not only are cats agile and able to change direction on a whim, a cats mood and behaviour can be especially hard to read. Just like cats, change in organisations is the norm and change management is necessary. But we do not just manage change, most importantly, we manage and lead our people who are integral in the organizational change we experience.
“Leadership is not a position, it is influence and the 21st Century program explores the elements that will make you a person of positive influence, thereby an impactful leader for your team, your organisation and your own life.
“Unlike cats (with their nine lives), as humans we only get one. Leaders and managers let’s make it count, for us and our people!”
“Every passing moment in our lives we can make a positive difference in the lives of others. Irrespective of where we are and regardless of our status, achievement or position.” – Ken Blanchard