September 13, 2012
Greetings from The 2012 OPEN MINDS Executive Leadership Institute and from Gettysburg! Our attention this week is focused on all things related to leadership – and it’s been a great day with a team of historians on the fields of the Gettysburg National Military Park presenting leadership case studies based on military situations and military leadership of 149 years ago.
An obvious (and common) question is – what can something that happened over a century ago with the military teach leaders in health and human service today? The answer to that question is not obvious at first glance. But, think about the military leadership context:
Risky, pressured, fast-changing situations
Clarity about the mission at hand across the team is key to success
Adaptability of leaders in the execution of strategy is critical
Leadership happens within complex precise systems that are in a state of flux
Sound familiar? And, if you’re not convinced, check out the framework for adaptive military leadership (outlined in the Harvard Business Review article Four Lessons in Adaptive Leadership). Its four tenets have been useful to many executives in the health and human service field:
Meet the troops – “Creating a personal link is crucial to leading people through challenging times.” A leader can do many successful things behind closed doors, but getting out and interacting with your followership is fundamental to earning their trust.
Make decisions – “Making good and timely calls is the crux of responsibility in a leadership position.” When you have enough information to make the decision, make the decision. Waiting for perfection often leads to missed opportunity, instead of perfection.
Focus on mission – “Establish a common purpose, buttress those who will help you achieve it, and eschew personal gain.” In short, the mission of the organization must take precedent over the self interest of both leaders and followers. Focusing on the mission helps everyone in the organization.
Convey strategic intent – “Establish a common purpose, buttress those who will help you achieve it, and eschew personal gain.” How your team will achieve results isn’t always clear, but what they need to achieve should never be in doubt. Having clear goals is a definitive must for success.
These historical lessons are important not just to generals and bureaucrats – but to business managers and clinical professionals as well. What I have learned with 20+ years of management experience is that technology may change and language may evolve, but the human relationships, emotions, and motivations have remained the same over the millennia.
For some of the best from our archives on leadership, check out:
Will Your Leader Limit Your Future? all members
Are You An Adaptable Leader? all members
Communicate Like A Leader all members
Are You ‘Coachable’? all members
And, stay tuned for more on best practice leadership in our report from tomorrow’s institute.
Monica E. Oss
Chief Executive Officer, OPEN MINDS
For another free resource, see: Riding A Bicycle While Building It all members
This is free for the next sixty days to all registered OPEN MINDS Circle members.