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Reframing Responsibility

Moses and commandment

Image source: Zeeweez

I would like to draw a leadership lesson from the life of Moses in the Bible. The Book of Exodus narrates a story of how God got the attention of a shepherd named Moses by using a burning bush. He investigated this strange occurrence of a bush burning up but yet was not consumed by the fire. God then directs him to go to Egypt, a superpower at the time, to tell Pharaoh to release all the Israelite slaves. This was an audacious directive for a simple shepherd who was also a wanted man in Egypt, having murdered an Egyptian about 40 years earlier.

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Using questions effectively (2)

This is the second part of using questions effectively. I discussed in a previous post on how leaders can use questions in their creative endeavours and today I will focus on the power of questions for coaching purposes.

Leaders can coach their team members by using questions to draw out answers from them. Leaders who always provide the solutions for their team members don’t enable them to think and grow. Effective questioning draws out insightful answers from team members. Coaching questions enable them to explore alternative solutions to a problem. It forces them to use their initiatives. It also encourages team members to be independent thinkers instead of been overly dependent on the leader. This frees up the leader to focus on other things because he has coached his subordinates to think for themselves.

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On Mourinho

Yesterday Jose Mourinho became the new coach of Real Madrid football club in Spain but last weekend he led the Italian club, Inter Milan, to win the European champions league trophy. This win cemented his status as one of the most successful football coaches in Europe. The 47 year old Portuguese coach, is a polarising figure; you either love him or hate him, but even his harshest critics can’t knock his accomplishments. I believe that there are several key factors responsible for his coaching success.

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Using questions effectively (1)

A leader’s ability to effectively ask questions is a powerful tool. A leader can maximise the use of questions in two key areas of his leadership. I will talk about the use of questions for creative purposes in this post and deal with the second aspect in another post.

Leaders are required to be problem solvers hence the reason why they are in charge. You need creativity to solve problems but creativity is kick-started by curiosity, which is built on by asking the right questions. Insight comes from the willingness to ask the right questions. Most breakthroughs originated from questions that others missed or ignored. A lot of problems remain unsolved because the wrong questions are being asked. An effective leader looks out for the right question because with the right question{s}, a problem is half solved.

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Silence & Solitude

Leaders are very busy individuals. They have the responsibility and burden of delivering results through the effective management of human {and other resources}. This level of busyness pushes out the time for silence and solitude in the life of a leader. Yet without it, a leader is toying with burnout.

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Dealing with Critics

Image source: Erik Daniel Drost

Today, I will draw my leadership lesson from the Bible and focus on Jesus. On your leadership journey, you are going to have to deal with critics. They have nothing constructive to contribute to your vision but their goal is to hurl stones at you with the intention of halting your momentum. There is a time to answer your critics but there is a time, like Jesus, to keep quiet and ignore them.

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The Price of Inflexibility

I discovered this quote by Napoleon Bonaparte which states that “The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail.” A number of leaders fail because they lack the flexibility to adapt in the face of changing landscapes. They allow unexpected changes to their plans to paralyse them. We all get emotionally attached to our plans that we can lose all objectivity when results and others tell us that we are heading the wrong direction. Some leaders get bogged down by failed plans that they are unable to pick up the lessons from them to create and execute new ones.

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Under Pressure

Leadership is a results oriented role, hence there is so much pressure on leaders to deliver extraordinary results. You only have to examine the high turnover rate of football coaches in the English premiership and championship leagues to see the amount of pressure to deliver results. The demand for results brings pressure. King Solomon in the Bible stated that “if you fail under pressure, then your strength is weak” (Prov. 24:10).

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The Leadership Pipeline

It is rare for a sports team to go through a season where its star players go the entire season without some injury, suspension or leave on a transfer. A team that doesn’t have a strong bench will struggle when its stars are injured or leave the team. This is where the strength of the team’s bench is critical. The replacements need to be able to step in and perform when there is a vacancy in the team. This ensures that the team doesn’t suffer and fall behind in the league tables. Top teams maintain their edge over the other teams because they have a better and stronger bench.

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The 2 Headed Dragon (part 2)

This is the second and final part of the 2 headed dragon series (if you have not yet read the first part I will encourage you to do so in order to have the full picture).  I stated that the first dragon head was uncertainty and today I will tackle the second one – complexity.