Leadership organisation Maximus produce an excellent magazine with numerous articles on lessons of leadership, this article really jumped out at me.
With everyone working from home, organisations have made significant changes in how they work. Not just changing the technology (video) and the location (home) but also a change in trust relationships, as leaders now have to trust their team to progress work under intense pressure and widely distributed where they are not easily monitored for support and direction.
Governance Accountability and the New Era of Democratic Leadership
Its not about devolving all accountability, however as Maximus Founder Vanessa Gavan says “You want to open up the boundaries of control to offer more freedom, provide employees with more context than you have ever before, engender higher levels of trust and transparency and ask for their best contribution. This is how you will fulfil their needs and capitalise on their contribution in the modern economy.”
Not all industries will make the same changes as each has its own risk profile however the opportunities are to empower individuals to become more flexible, take direct accountability and to work “autonomously but together, with freedom but also accountability”.
Curiosity as a Mark of Courage
A highly distributed and highly engaged team need touch points that lead to the essence of leadership and accountability. “Cultivating curiosity is key to questioning the validity of existing structures, to understanding what matters to employees, and to maintaining equilibrium in the face of uncertainty. It takes courage to constantly engage with possibilities, and in this sense incumbent leaders can provide valuable role models.”
Agreed Purpose and Principles Provide a Framework for Leaders at All Levels
How leaders unite the team, keep them motivated and drive performance in a highly distributed and democratised workforce will depend heavily on clarity of ‘organisational purpose and principles’. “Employees can’t fully participate in creating value for an organisation unless they understand the context of the company’s operations; not only its purpose but, as much as possible, its performance against that purpose”.
The intent to devolve and ‘democratise leadership’ comes from an urgent need for leaders to distribute and more effectively delegate accountability through the organisation “to enable competent, committed, informed decision making by those who are closest to the action”.
- Now is the time to empower teams to unleash and take on accountability
- Embrace curiosity, it is a sign of leadership growth
- Organisational purpose and principles provide structure and guidance for success and a framework for empowering your highly distributed team.
Synopsis from an article in Maximus Magazine
by Natalie Filatoff
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