In any role we need to lead self and master our leadership from the inside out. Self-leadership is the centre of our success irrelevant of whether you are leading a direct team or not. Too often we can get caught up in the sole responsibility of what we are doing and only believe we are leading those directly reporting to us, this is not the case.
I visually see leadership in any role as a cross with self-leadership positioned and embedded in the centre. We cannot lead others or influence decisions without a clear purpose, self-belief, commitment and motivation, all the key ingredients that make up the recipe for strong self-leadership.
“I believe the choice to be excellent begins with aligning your thoughts and words with the intention to require more from yourself.”
Self-leadership is forever evolving and we need to learn and unlearn to take this to the next level and not maintain the status quo.
From there we can look at leading in a cross functional sense.
Cross-leadership focus points
As leaders there are three non-negotiable areas of focus, in the below order:
- Focus on people
- Focus on process
- Focus on progress
By focusing on people before progress and praising process, I strongly believe we can build a limitless culture, where everyone is realising their full potential as one team resulting in performance that is on purpose.
Too often, there is a focus on progress and the people, their strengths and contributions get left by the way side with the outcome results in being less than desirable, morale is low and the cultures become soulless and empty.
I ask you…”How can we best help such collaborations address our pressing challenges at the magnitude and complexity at which they exist?”
I believe we need to be cross-functional in our leadership and invest time, energy and headspace into our peers, managers and indirect and direct reports.
The Leadership cross involves:
Take the time to share and collaborate with your peers, not only in your division but also across the business. Add value by sharing best practice and asking them to do the same. Many of us are time poor so start with an area or person you believe you could contribute to the most and go from there. Many organisations I am working with have started to do monthly catch-ups under 40 minutes sharing key insights and learnings and adding value to each other. Don’t make this a time to show case your achievements, the focus is on learnings, lessons and adding value to each other. Keep the conversations laser focused and with intention.
If I had a dollar for every time a client asked me to manage upwards, I would be a very wealthy person. Firstly, a reframe of ‘Managing upwards” could be helpful. Maybe you could ask, “How could I stretch myself to connect even better with managers?”
Many times managing upwards is another way of saying, “How can I push back or ask for more help or support so we are both on the same page”. We have all had amazing managers and then we have had those managers I call “The Gift”. The ones that teach us how not to be. All teach us something and it’s what we do with these lessons that counts. To be on the same page be open, honest and ask yourself ‘What will it cost me not to connect and be on the same page as my manager”?
Managing up could be up to your manager’s peers so don’t discount this also as a portal to growth and learnings and exposure to build on your strategic agility.
Leading direct and indirect reports
Whether or not you have direct reports you are leading and influencing decisions and those around you.
Remember, your role is to build and be part of a team, achieve impact and make decisions and solve problems. Coaching and mentoring others is imperative as a leader as by doing this you are delegating thinking (which is coaching when you think of it) and then you can focus on what matters and create the space to empower and grow others, in the process, creating future leaders. Those people reporting through to your peers are still part of your team and also those 2 layers down in your direct team. So often people dismiss investing time and energy in this area due to lack of time and awareness of the pay off of doing this.
By being across those in other teams and in your indirect teams you can foster a highly collaborative culture and encourage peer coaching, sharing of best practice and limitless possibilities.
Long term consistency beats short term intensity-Bruce lee
I’d love to hear how you go applying cross leadership and what you have done so far in your role and what has and hasn’t worked?
To being limitless