12 Wishes for Leadership in 2010


Last year, when I had 3 or 4 readers for this blog :-) , I published a Leadership Wish List for 2009. Most of you haven’t seen it. And, most of my wishes remain unfulfilled, but I’m quite patient.  So, I’ve updated it a bit, adding some new thoughts and reposting. What would you add?

1. For leaders to slow down and be intentional about the work they do. Being swept away by “busy-ness” can be responsible for poor decisions. Reflection time, journaling, prayer, meditation – whatever – are the stuff behind the building of great leadership.

2. For followers to take an active stand against leaders who use their power to advance themselves to the detriment of the “greater good”. Followers create leaders, and get what they vote for, agree to, and follow. Its time to consider the the role we all play in ineffective and unethical leadership.

3. For leaders to “get” that they must listen, ask, delegate, empower, develop others. How different it would be if all leaders just chose one of these to add to their leadership skills (how cool would it be if we all listened more?).

4. For leaders to understand that when they do the stuff in #3, they don’t have to work so hard, and that they can focus on doing the things that will make them great (developing and communicating a vision, influencing others, etc.). Amazing stuff, that list in #3. Try it, and consider what you will do with your free time.

5. For leaders to get into the regular habit of requesting feedback from others. And then listening without judgment to the feedback, saying “thank you” and deciding whether to take action on it. Even if the feedback received is less than fully honest (not unusual), it shows others that a leader is willing to improve.

6. For the “tipping point” that is needed for all leaders to realize that they must stop micro-managing the tasks and become facilitators of process. In other words, let go of the need and the act of control. Hire and lead the right people, and stop trying to make them do things your way.

7. For organizations to focus their development efforts and dollars on their best leaders. Even in these times, organizations are throwing their training dollars around and allowing anyone to tap into them. Focus those dollars on the few who are already great (but want to get greater) and notice the amazing effect it has on business.

8. For leaders to truly embrace the concepts of “work-life” balance, not just with their talk, but with their actions. Horror stories abound of long-term “required” twelve or fourteen hour days. A leader will get the most out of people if you trust them to “get the work done” and encourage them to assure they are “balanced” between work and other activities. And….how about modeling balance yourself?

9. For leaders to learn to listen to themselves. To stop and listen to that little voice that lets them know when they are on the right track (or off the track).

10. For the press to concentrate on writing about leaders that are doing the right things. How uplifting and inspiring to hear stories about good leadership! I know they’re out there! I’ve met them, you’ve met them, and they are the quiet ones we don’t hear about that are changing lives.

11. For the word “leader” to be reserved only for those who are working for the greater good. Unethical and immoral leaders who abuse the power they’ve been given don’t deserve the title of “leader”. Those who follow and support evil leaders  should remember their responsibilities too – see #2 above.

12. For organizations to start supporting and promoting the leaders who get the “people stuff”: promoting those who have been successful only on the basis of their knowledge and achievement isn’t doing our organizations any good. Leaders must have the “soft skills” as well as be knowledgable and results-oriented. 

How about you? What are your “leadership wishes” for 2010?

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Mary Jo Asmus is the founder and President of Aspire Collaborative Services LLC, an executive coach, writer, internationally recognized thought leader, and a consultant who partners with organizations of all kinds to develop and administer coaching programs. She has “walked in your shoes” as a former leader in a Fortune company.


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