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progressive leadership style: namely to hire

the best people and get out of their way to

enable them to do their best work. We need

our leaders to guide us, help us understand

the future, our solutions, products, and

our services. We need them to help us to

engage with our customers and to really

understand what we are doing. We also

need our leaders to lift us up by using

language we can understand about how

and what we are doing well. It is necessary

for our leaders to share more than just the

numbers to help us change or develop our

tactics. They must ask guiding questions

about how we could approach doing the

job in a different way - to refocus, feel

confident and learn new or different things.

This requires true empowerment based

on trust and support to take action. To

succeed, businesses need to combine

support, direction, and understanding to

help us find a better way. It is not about

'what can you do for the bosses', but very

much 'what the leadership can do for the

people within our organization'. This is

service leadership - and we need that way

of thinking in the digital and virtual era

even more if we are to grow and maintain

a personal connection with each other and

our customers.

AL: What does it bring on an individual


AM: Leadership has the biggest challenge

to revive this personal connection with

people returning to 'normal' workspaces,

some after working from home for over 12

months. Colleagues need to feel connected

to understand both the challenges within

the business and the team spirit and

camaraderie needed to move forward

together. One of the leaders' responsibilities

is to ensure that people not only feel

confident that the business is moving in the

right direction, but act in a way they can

see it. Subsequently, they are required to be

able to challenge individuals and groups if

they are acting in isolation, or if they are

moving away from the agreed direction

of the company. The current challenge for

leaders is to deliver that assurance without

the ability to physically see everybody. It is

much more difficult to gauge the mood of

the organization, to listen, and to reflect

on feedback including the tone and body

language from colleagues.

In terms of virtual leadership, there is a real

opportunity to connect leaders with people

by means of instant messaging. Immediate

contact options create a chance for leaders

to focus on their people. What they cannot

feel, however, is your reaction. What they

can't hear is your murmurs. They have to

trust that you are making it work - because

they do not have the direct feedback of

your body language, eye contact, or even

facial expressions. Also, just because

people can make immediate 24/7 personal

connections, doesn't mean they know when

it's necessary to do so and how often.

AL: Middle managers are not only expected

to lead their teams in the new landscape,

but they are also empowered to do this.

What is the role of the C-level executives

in this?

AM: The main role of a C-level executive

is to encourage people to reach their full

potential. Hire the best people and greatest

minds, then allow them to do their jobs

while encouraging them to think, create

and deliver. It's not about telling them

what to do, it's about inspiring them to

explore more productive and rewarding

ways to do their job within the parameters

and framework of the business. Give them

energy, air, space to breathe and knowledge

that we are supporting them - that's what

true leadership is all about.

Within that, leaders have two main

responsibilities. One is to be the public

face of the business - the professional

connection between the corporate external

stakeholders. This requires communication

skills, networking, and engagement.

AL: What would be your advice for new

leaders or those that want to move toward

this new paradigm of leadership?

AM: Anyone wanting to move into leadership

needs to truly understand who they are, what

their motives are, and ask themselves some

key questions:

• Are you doing this for power, selfsatisfaction, personal financial gain, or

the need to be in control?

• Do you want to lead people to share

success with them? Do you want to

enjoy the journey, the successes, and

the failures, and work together to create

value for customers, sustainable profit,

and a great place to work?

• Or do you just want the personal

glory attached to your own needs and

individual achievements?

True inspirational leadership is based on

service, caring for your colleagues and

customers, shared values, collaboration, and

shared experience to learn and shape the

future together in true partnership.

Quick Leadership Test:

Q 1: Are you prepared to self-reflect, act on

feedback, learn new ways of working, learn

from others, help others learn and listen?


Q 2: Are you prepared to do what is best for

the company, not just for you, and to make

difficult decisions which some people won't

like and could make you unpopular? Yes/No

Q 3: Are you prepared to admit your mistakes

and when needed change direction even if it

makes you look foolish? Yes/No

Q 4: Are you willing to put your personal

needs and feelings secondary to those of the

people and stakeholders whom you lead and

represent? Yes/No

Q 5: Are you willing to hire and develop

people even smarter than you and empower

them to do their best work even if it means

they outgrow you and the company and

maybe even leave? Yes/No

If you answered NO to any of the above

questions maybe you are not quite ready for

true Service Leadership just yet.



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