Richard Whiteley and Diane Hessan in their book Customer Centered Growth present the need of a transition from facilitative leadership to contact leadership.
They identify four qualities that mark the most successful leaders. These qualities are:
- A passionate connectedness to customers and employees. The most effective leaders are no longer content to just analyze market data or hear from others what’s going on. They are physically, visibly, directly, constantly obtaining information firsthand.
- A deep commitment to creating meaning for people in clear, concrete terms. A lofty customer-centered vision is no longer sufficient. Today’s best leaders translate their dreams into day-to-day reality, making sure people understand what it all means and how they fit in.
- An ability to mobilize people and help them see progress-with a mix of both challenge and support. The new leader doesn’t just practise empowerment and delegation, but shows an ability to get people aligned and working towards the same goal. Taking personal responsibility, challenging people to do their best, demonstrating confidence in their abilities, and providing support, the new leader help everyone in the organization to see progress.
- The capacity to inspire and develop others to be leaders. This is not “motivating” in the traditional sense of the term, but giving people the capacity to inspire themselves-not creating followers, but other leaders throughout the organization.
Rather than depending on charisma, the best leaders demonstrate passionate connectedness and take specific actions that enable them to create meaning, mobilize people, and inspire their organizations to move forward in focused ways.
Adapted from Customer Centered Growth – Five Proven Strategies for Building Competitive Advantage, Richard Whiteley and Diane Hessan, The Forum Corporation