Leadership is a subjective participation sport of perspectives and relationships. The more effectively you influence others to play with you, the greater your own success, and the more value you generate with, and for, others. Great leaders generate trust and act in an open and trustworthy manner. In doing so, they generate an environment in which people desire to be involved in decision-making and the implementation of value-creating actions. They interact in an open manner to solicit a range of perspectives to ensure knowledge is transferred between them, constructively challenging current thinking to generate the ideas to make a better tomorrow. Knowledge leadership is primarily behavioural (both for the leader and their followers) and generates a collaborative atmosphere of ownership and a sense of identity around the shared purpose. Effective leaders use metaphor to simplify complex matters and creatively highlight connections between what is already known and what needs to be understood for the future. This use of metaphor to draw people towards a mutually beneficial journey with sustainable outcomes develops an environment of trust and participation.
Reflect on why you have followed those you consider your leaders, mentors, and role models. Reflect on
why we will move mountains for those we trust… and why we place them in the paths of those we do not. Such self-awareness will lead to insights on why leadership is critical to success and why knowledge and behaviour are essential ingredients in this success. Recently I wrote the opening chapter for the book “Successful Knowledge leadership” describing 12 principles that effective knowledge leaders follow. Each of us probably have elements of these some of the time, the great leaders exhibit most of them, most of the time. It is just about consciously implementing your “should do’s” to convert the thoughts into actions and the potential into value.
12 Principles of Knowledge Leadership is a great place to start you practice of becoming more successful:
- Lead people to interact through effective processes to deliver aligned individual and organisational goals supported by tools to make this more efficient.
- Engage people in ‘Conversations that Matter’ to make more informed and sustainable decisions and build trusted relationships (and the subsequent flow-on effect of increasing knowledge transfer).
- Enhance performance of self, teams, organisation, and cross-organisational boundaries through timely communication and relevant interactions.
- Accelerate the development of employee capability, experiences, and networks by creating an environment which attracts, engages, and retains knowledgeable employees through the provision of constructive and meaningful work activities.
- Create the foundations of a learning organisation and a ‘safe-fail’ environment that encourages emergent discovery and an adaptive approach to errors.
- Prioritise activities to focus on appropriate resources to highest value activities (considering both short and long term implications and both tangible and intangible benefits and risks).
- Ensure cycles of knowledge flow throughout the organisation from initiative design, to implementation, to post-implementation review, such that learning from the current cycle informs the next cycle.
- Invest resources in prospecting of future potential to fuel growth and innovation, to fill knowledge gaps and create new options.
- Share relevant information, narrative, story, and insights through targeted communications to build community and team identity and leverage cultural diversity.
- Stimulate change and challenges through reflective and emergent dialogue using creative social interactions among people who benefit from connecting regularly (ideally through both face-to-face and virtual contact).
- Leverage knowledge assets (tacit knowledge, processes, intellectual assets, networks, relationships etc.) in creative but ethical ways to make sense of emerging trends and highlight potential risks – considering both internal and external influencing factors.
- Be the knowledge leader you want to serve and mentor the one you want to replace you.