Kevin crouched near the edge of the cliff, 2,000 feet above the valley floor. Still slightly out of breath from the last leg of his climb, he surveyed the vast forest below him, the denseness of the trees, a lower summit off to the right, and a river running through it along the highway far below. From this vantage point he could see miles and miles of largely undisturbed woods and rugged terrain. It was beautiful yet overwhelming to take it all in.
He was reminded of why he decided to hike to this peak in the first place; the need to find solitude and think about the overwhelming amount of information he was managing as CEO of his company. Strategic decisions needed to be made about the coming fiscal year, and while he had a capable team, they tended to focus on their individual piece of the organization.
Kevin felt accountable for integrating it all into a comprehensive plan. As the leader, he had the vantage point of seeing the implications of everything in ways that others didn’t. But he was beginning to think more about that responsibility. How can he effectively use his vantage point to be a better leader, and to get better results with his team? What fundamentals did he need to think about to make a positive impact on the business?
Kevin understood the importance of a vantage point. Simply put, it’s a place or position offering a good view of something. It might be from a front row seat at a concert, a press box at a sporting event, or a pilot over the Grand Canyon. These positions enable one to see with a broader perspective, spot trends and patterns, anticipate and plan strategic moves, and make better decisions with the information gathered.
By virtue of their roles, leaders always have a better vantage point than others in their organization. Because of their responsibility and span of control, they have access to more data, understand the broader impact of decisions and behavior and are held accountable for significant results on behalf of their team. They must communicate meaningfully about the importance and relevance of what is seen, so that others can learn from the information gained. They influence outcomes at all levels of the organization.
It’s a sobering yet exciting position to hold. And Kevin wanted to ensure that he skillfully led the organization from his vantage point. What should he do?
There are seven fundamental opportunities for leaders based on their vantage point that can positively impact their leadership effectiveness and results.
Leadership Purpose is the why behind an individual’s leadership. Leaders must have clarity on why they are in their roles and called to the work, what they hope to accomplish and how their leadership will make a difference. For many leaders, this is an evolutionary process. As they gain experience in their leadership roles and life, they also become more aware of where they add the most value to others and where their passions lie. This vantage point enables them to have a laser-like focus on those activities that will be most productive in accomplishing their goals.
Leadership Perspective is the foundational viewpoint that helps to guide leaders’ decisions. It drives how they think about their work and relate to colleagues. This vantage point challenges them to rethink previous assumptions and thought processes, to practice curiosity and to broaden their outlook on their approach to leadership.
Leadership Values are principles and standards to support constructive leadership. They are foundational beliefs about what is important as they lead. This vantage point requires them to consciously identify the underlying beliefs and values they bring to their work and that are important for the success of the organization; and to communicate these expectations clearly to others.
Leadership Traits are the personality characteristics of successful leaders. Many are rooted in having emotional intelligence; including self-awareness of how the leader is perceived, and social awareness to manage relationships with others. This vantage point is the ability to build engaging connections with colleagues to accomplish organizational goals.
Leadership Behaviors are the actions and attitudes of effective leaders. Behaviors are the outward manifestation of values and are what leaders do on a daily basis. This vantage point is the practical application of how leaders navigate through tough business challenges, particularly given constant pressure to perform well.
Leadership Tools are the essential elements for accomplishing leadership goals. These are concrete steps to enhance leadership effectiveness. This vantage point is to fill their “toolbox” with the most important techniques, tips and strategies to gain their desired results.
Leadership Ideas are the wisdom for pursuing goals. Leaders drive concepts forward, but it’s important to have a realistic assessment of the context in which they will be successful. This vantage point is how they generate their thoughts and plans for the future.
This is just an overview of each of the seven fundamentals. Shortly, you will be able to learn more about each one in just one book, LeaderVantage: Seven Fundamentals to Transform Your Leadership. My newest book will be released in April 2020 filled with valuable information for leaders who want to use their leadership vantage point to build strong teams and gain productive results; to win in their roles.