By LINDA FISHER THORNTON
When we reach a certain level of accomplishment as leaders, it is easy to think we can slide into the neutral state.
Here are 14 compelling reasons why we can never afford to cut back on investing in our own leadership development and competence:
- Watching trends that impact our work and the success of those we lead.
- Opening up to new feedback from followers and colleagues (and doing something about it!).
- Responding to requests for new services, processes and communication channels.
- Keeping up with changing times and technologies.
- Informing others of key information and engaging our networks in conversations about it.
- Never thinking we have “arrived” (leadership is a relational journey and the world is changing fast).
- Preparing for future challenges that we have identified through trend scanning.
- Respecting all other people including people who are not like us (it’s a constant learning experience).
- Offering to take on new assignments and responsibilities.
- Growing into our new roles and responsibilities (whether we volunteered for them or not).
- Reaching for new skills and abilities to become the best leader we can be.
- Entertaining new ideas and perspectives on important issues (that don’t match our current beliefs).
- Simplifying work and how we use our time to keep up with increasing work complexity.
- Studying and responding to changing ethical expectations.
Since our world and work are changing at the speed of complexity, every leader will always be a “work in progress”.
Detachment and ethics don’t mix
Ethics and detachment don’t mix. In fact, combining high ethical expectations with detached behaviour can lead to trouble.
How can “detached leadership” contribute to ethical problems?
- When we seem unapproachable, people are less likely to bring up ethical problems they’ve observed.
- Removing ourselves from day-to-day work keeps us unaware of ethical issues and potential ethical hot spots.
- When we are unapproachable and unaware, we can seem unconcerned, leading people to think that ethics is not a priority.
Hands-off leadership can be as bad as micromanagement in terms of its ultimate impact on organisational ethics. When leaders lock themselves away and are not available to those they lead, they are removing themselves from the important role of championing ethical decisions and actions.
Ethics has to be personal, systemic and positive to drive an organisation’s success. Detachment will undo all these three important elements.