Harvard Business Review (HBR) sent out an interesting article on leadership today. They point out that current leaders believe they are facing new challenges, unique to our time. And many believe the new problems need new answers. HBR’s position is the same skills are required to overcome today’s challenges as were needed in the past. And the best strategy is for leaders to embrace proven, (read “old”) techniques rather then devoting time to mastery of new techniques for new problems.
I have to agree with the latter. Problems look new, but under the shiny newness are age old situations showing up in new wrappers. So address them with simple, proven and obvious ways.
Real leaders still use competence, caring and benevolence to address problems. The new twist is there are additional ways to deliver the leadership message. Leaders have to build the message, then consider which communication channels will reach their audience. It is no longer just 1 or even 3. Don’t spend too much time figuring out which channel to use for your initial communication. The “right” channels will reveal themselves later. Devote time to see where they are.
On top of that, the interaction expectation has changed. No matter what method you use to deliver the message, your employees will respond. They always have. The “new” element is that you can overhear their comments even when you aren’t in the same room. On-line social channels give them many options on where they vent or applaud your message. And everyone can see what they think of what you said. Once you see where reaction is showing up, use those same channels to respond.
If you fail to do that things unwind. You lose one or more of the 3 skills of great leadership: competence, caring and benevolence.