Essential Leadership Skills, with Mary Gregory
Welcome back to this, the second of three instalments in a series by Mary Gregory, The Future Fit Leader. Mary has already talked to us about the unprecedented change we’ve seen over the past decades (and especially during the past year) in Transformational Leadership with Mary Gregory. Next, she’s going to talk about critical leadership skills in the first three of her Six Cs of Leadership.
If you are a Future Fit Leader—or you have the potential to be one—these are strategies that you can implement into your everyday interactions, to help build your essential leadership skills.
We need proactive, flexible, confident leaders now more than ever, so I hope you’ll continue along this path with us.
If you’d like to view the entire Unlock your Future Fit Leader Potential (Part One) video, produced by Brand Builders TV, you may do so here. Or, read on for part two of this series, delivered in Mary’s own words.
More About Mary Gregory
Mary works with purpose-driven leaders of all skill levels to maximise their impact, develop leadership skills, enhance their personal resources, navigate uncertainty, increase confidence, think strategically and achieve the outcomes they desire.
Her resume includes working with leaders in companies like Tesco, O2 and Ralph Lauren.
Now it’s time to hand it over to Mary, so she can tell us more about the Six Cs of Leadership, in her own words.
Mary's Top Leadership Skills
In the first part of this series, we left off with the importance of seeing our leadership blind spots. We have to take a step back—and take a good look—in order to keep growing and developing.
And in order to help you do that, I have drawn up the Six Cs of Leadership. Each one is open to interpretation, so you can apply it to your unique, inborne leadership style.
1. Being COMFORTABLE with Ambiguity
Being Comfortable with Ambiguity. It’s important to have comfort around not knowing. If you like control and micromanagement, that’s a development area for you.
How can you start learning to let go, trust the process and trust others to take on a task for you? How can you be comfortable with not having all the answers? It’s not about being directionless. It’s about holding a vision to give you some direction for where you’re headed. That provides you with a focus. But it’s also about being flexible in how you go about achieving that direction.
If you think about getting on a plane from London to New York, you know your destination. But every plane doesn’t take the same route. They have to navigate around storms, winds and various weather conditions. The route will vary depending on the circumstances. The plane and the autopilot are able to flex, in order to get you to New York.
Similarly, a Future Fit Leader needs to be comfortable with not knowing and with ambiguity. It’s important to flex and be agile in relation to the circumstances.
Consider how comfortable you are with not knowing. How much are you able to trust the process?
2. Being CONSCIOUS of Ourselves and the Impact we have on Others
I’m talking about leaders who are awake. As a leader, you cast a light and you cast a shadow. Leadership is about showing the light and the way forward. The shadow is also cast, and that shows up in the way you interact with people, how you engage, the moods you’re in…however you show up.
Recognise your beliefs, ego traps, behaviour patterns…so you don’t cast a shadow on those you’re leading. You are a lamp guiding others. You must be self-aware to building positive relationships so others will come onboard with you.
How conscious are you of yourself? How much do you collaborate? What’s your commitment to your development? Robert Kegan talks about the idea of Deliberately Developmental Leadership, which says that leadership going forward needs to have a strategy that encourages and enables everyone in the organisation to be working on their own development as leaders. I think that’s a fantastic premise. To be a Future Fit Leader, there’s a degree of commitment to your own development, and self-awareness is key to that.
3. CREATING a Positive Legacy
This is about serving others, doing something bigger than yourself, thinking beyond your own ego, thinking about what you can contribute and what difference you can make even though you might not be able to see it through to the end. Because it might live beyond your lifetime.
I have to thank Sammy Blindell because she really challenged me about my own vision. She made me step up and think about what I wanted to be creating in one hundred years’ time, not just in ten years. That made me stop and think.
When you think long-term, you are thinking beyond yourself. I’m not going to be around in one hundred years. What do I want to start now that will still be carrying on (in some shape or form) a century from now?
What do you want to be remembered for? What do you want to create that will still be continuing in one hundred years? That is a very big question, and one that confronted me.
As a Future Fit Leader, you’ll be willing to play outside your comfort zone. Transcending our egos causes us to do just that. Our egos can cause us to play small. It can be an over-inflated ego, where we want all the attention and we drain all the energy in the room, or an under-inflated one that’s holding us back, keeping us playing small.
Developing Your Leadership Skills
Do Mary’s first three Cs of Leadership sound like some things you can work on to enhance your influence? I believe they are not only highly relevant to the development of leadership skills, but to the development of the special kind of leaders we need in this quickly changing world.
She only covered the first three here. For the final three, go to Leadership Qualities for Future Fit Leaders. In that final instalment, Mary will also provide you with an exercise to see where you currently land in all six leadership skills.
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