Lead, follow or collaborate? The #1 mistake that a 21st Century leader needs to avoid…

followtheleaderLeadership principles shift with the sands of time. And our turbulent globally-connected marketplace calls for a new style of leadership. With all the noise out there about servant leadership and collaboration, what is the #1 mistake that many of us make as a leader, whether we listen to the noise or not?

Flexibility, baby!

Time to stop thinking and behaving in a one-style-fits-all way. Predictability is out…adaptability is in. If you don’t master the art of ‘going with the flow’ and matching your leadership behavior to the situation, it’s going to be difficult for you to get the best out of your team and/or elevate your organization. In this edition’s Leader’s Minute segment of our online TV show ‘The Inventive Links Report’, I share the #1 mistake we still make when we’re given a leadership role in a group.  

“Being a great leader is about being a great marketer. Keep your eyes & ears open for what people need.” – Maya Mathias via @inventivelinks Click To Tweet!

3 Ways to Be a More Market-y and 21st-Century-Ready Leader

1. Don’t just listen.  Probe. What someone says out loud may not be what they truly think and believe at a deeper level.  If you don’t at least try to access that deeper level, you won’t know their desires and motivations for doing what they do.  And you won’t be able to give them what they truly need.  I dedicate an entire module about the art and science of probing in my Lead FIRST System – the T in FIRST stands for Truth-Seeking.  Check out this page for a taste of my Lead FIRST approach.

2. Let someone else lead when they should. We can’t be an expert at everything (though we may often want to be!).  Recognize that other people in your team or organization actually know more about their area of expertise than you might. Give them a) the benefit of the doubt that they know what they’re talking about (unless they prove to be untrustworthy in some way) b) the space to step into a leadership role and take charge of a project or sub-project that involves their area of expertise with just enough foreign material to keep them challenged and engaged

3. Do you have a 3rd way? Do you agree or disagree that leading is a lot like marketing these days i.e. listening and adapting to the needs of your bosses, coworkers and staff members? What other similarity do you see between leading and marketing? Please share your comments below… image from wallpaperswide.com

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About the Author

Maya loves life in the innovation lane. An avid student of life, learning & leadership, she has worked and lived on 3 continents, bringing her globally-minded flair to her clients and personal passions.

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