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5 Things Good Leaders Will Call out in 2024

I'm writing this at the end of January when good intentions often wane, and we return to the day-to-day rhythm of work and life.

Those of us who started the year with good intent to grow, develop and be better often struggle to avoid falling back into old, average habits.

If you aspire to continue to grow as a leader, here are 5 things to pay attention to, call out, or act upon, in your organisation and team.

Brilliant jerks

Brilliant jerks are those high performers who demonstrate unhelpful behaviours. They should not be tolerated, but average leaders would rather live with the unpleasantness they cause than lose their experience or results.

Ultimately, the brilliant jerk always does more harm than good as the talented, well-meaning people around them conform to their standards or leave because they lose faith in their leader.

If you have a brilliant jerk in your team, call out their behaviour, bite the bullet, and lead them to be better (or leave).

People mixing up vision and strategy

Strategy isn't vision. Vision isn't strategy. They serve two different roles and have different structures.

Call them out if you see or hear people using them as interchangeable terms.

If you aren't sure about the distinction between the two, you should read The Alignment Advantage.

Learning that isn't learning

The problem with most formal online learning is that it isn't actually learning. The consumption of information does not mean we will change or act upon it.

But that's not only true of online learning. I've long shared the statistic that less than 10% of classroom training in organisations is transferred back to the workplace.

I'm consistently delighted that people tell us that our programmes and events are the most practical and engaging they have ever participated in. But I'm also a little disappointed because their other experiences have often been so average.

Not all organisational learning has to be in the form of training. Coaching, peer learning, mentoring and action-sets all have their place. But whatever the vehicle, let's ensure that real learning takes place which results in meaningful change.

Nice cultures

Show me a nice culture, and I'll show you an underperforming one.

That's not to say that people shouldn't get on or that they shouldn't look forward to being with their team. However, high-performance work environments always have a healthy degree of challenge, grit and occasional discord.

Nice cultures aren't always good, and good cultures aren't always nice.

Equality and equity being treated as the same thing

I have spent lots of time over the past few years leaning into conversations relating to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Sometimes, I have felt out of my depth, ignorant and helpless. In others, I have felt enlightened, inspired and full of hope.

All matters of prejudice, bias and privilege are complex and emotive, but one simple distinction that has shifted my thinking is the difference between equity and equality.

We should not be treating all people the same. If we want to be inclusive and diverse organisations, we need to focus on equity rather than inclusion.

Leadership is a privilege, but it is rarely easy. If any of these topics really challenge you then perhaps they should be the focus of your next development plan. I believe leaders who challenge the status quo in these areas will gain the respect of their colleagues at all levels.

To learn more about our ALIGNED work, click here and scroll down to programmes.


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