Leaders should consider a personal makeover or a self-rebranding exercise, periodically.
Leadership, some say, should be consistent. But leaders needn’t be.
There’s no escaping the shibboleth of change that infiltrates our entire life. Nudging people into relooking at themselves. Being proactively open to change, driven by the working environment, is an important leadership attribute.
Yet, a lot of leaders choose to present a more static image – right down to the suits they wear!
If you’re smiling, you know what I mean! C’mon, admit it! Deep in everyone’s heart, resides a desire to do something new, different – radical, even – but the ‘current image template’ plays spoilsport!
Let’s roll back the clock a bit. Remember the excitement in the office when someone walked in with a freaky retro hairstyle? The perm, wave, or slick styling didn’t matter. The new look did. The comments, the compliments and the blushing response: ‘I was bored with my old look, yaar!’. So was everyone else, my friend!
Remember the time when you first made changes in your leadership style. How you became more collaborative and less directive with your experienced team members. The change in the organizational climate, the fresh ideation, better performance – thanks to a simple catalyst.
Today, catalysts for change are available everywhere! For companies that can afford formal interventions, there are a host of 360-degree feedback programs. Such feedback mechanisms help identify the workplace-related areas of change.
Agreed, feedback is a bundle of perceptions. Also, the less mature will rub their hands in glee at the opportunity to bring someone down – a leader, no less. Yet, there is no denying that amidst those graphs and charts, lies the truth! However, the real value of feedback can only be harnessed when leaders are curious enough to ask, humble enough to receive, and wise enough to take action!
Seeking feedback is easy! Handling it is a different ball game altogether! Egos, social considerations, personal feelings and other annoying elements keep getting in the way.
The only way to beat this ‘internal resistance’ is to make a habit of it! Condition the mind – and the minds of those on the team – that they should be prepared for a periodic personal re-invention. Starting with the boss!
For those who prefer proactive change, over change forced on them by the environment – and feedback-shock, here are some ideas:
- Personal make-over: An easy, highly optical change. The ‘different look’ alone will make heads turn.
a. Get a new hair-cut!
b. Develop a style quotient – and change your tailor
c. Get a new studio portrait (Photoshop zindabad!) and upload it to your preferred Social Media profiles
- State the obvious: Communicate to your ecosystem that it’s not only about a new hair-cut (yes, do mention the haircut!) but that it’s also about a new leadership style. An action step based on everyone’s feedback. How things are going to be looked at, handled and actioned, henceforth:
a. Lay out the key drivers of change
b. Re-define the tenets of high performance
c. What’s negotiable, what’s non-negotiable
d. Pet peeves: Behaviours that will trigger a disproportionate, even extreme, reaction in you. Eg. lack of integrity, customer service failures, disrespecting colleagues…
- Passion Policy: Specially focus on a policy you are passionate about. Either something new, or from the existing portfolio, something meaningful. Like Environment, Gender equality, CSR, or Compliance. The one item that is going to feature in all your communications and reviews. A Passion Policy should ideally be:
a. Revolutionary – looking at something obvious in a very different way
b. Researched – enough data to support its relevance
c. Benefits a majority – link to ‘People, Profit, Planet’
d. Futuristic – no, not as far ahead as science fiction, but realistic enough to be first-mover and sustainable
- Mass Communication
a. Review existing ‘clubs’: As one ascends the corporate ladder, some of the clubs and platforms that invited us along the way become redundant. It’s time to move them off the profile.
b. Teach: Sharing workplace experiences in the classroom is a great way to influence young, developing professionals. It will give you an understanding of what the new workforce is all about. Most of all, teaching is the best form of self-learning!
c. Write: Blogging, tweeting and other forms of massively open communication channels allow for the wide-spread dispersion of your thoughts and ideas. There’ll be reactions from all corners of the earth!
For leaders to stay active and visible, a new and improved leadership personality should show up – proactively and periodically. However it must start from the feedback and can we handle that?