Leadership

The Other L Word

In a day when it seems every useful term becomes an overused buzzword, it’s easy to lose sight of the true meaning of key terms.

I hear the word Leadership used in so many different ways that I wonder if we’re all talking about the same thing. I even hesitate to use the L word out of concern that it no longer holds any meaning to some people.

After decades of research on the subject, one simple model of Leadership always remains top-of-mind for me.

The late and great Stephen R. Covey defined what he called The 4 Roles of Leadership. Learning this simple model and applying it in everyday life will keep you on a path of continuously becoming a more effective leader. A leader is effective to the extent to which she/he creates desired outcomes.

So what are the 4 Roles of Leadership?

  1. Pathfinding: Creating the Blueprint – Effective leaders maintain a clear vision of the future desired state, including the grand purpose for creating it. Pathfinding involves generating a mental representation of the outcome just as a blueprint defines the desired outcome of a construction project.
  2. Aligning: Creating Systems that Work – While Pathfinding identifies the path to get from here to there, aligning paves the way. Organizations, including families and teams, fail to achieve desired results when systems and processes are misaligned. Pathfinding sets the trajectory, and aligning keeps everything on course.
  3. Empowering: Unleashing People Potential – Empowering individuals and teams to draw upon their own resourcefulness to achieve results is essential to fostering the environment where success and continuous improvement prevail. As individuals and teams tap into their own potential for creativity and contribution, they naturally stay aligned on the path.
  4. Modeling: Building Trust with Others – True leadership is only possible when leaders model character and demonstrate that they are worthy to be followed. While Pathfinding, Aligning and Empowering are what leaders do, Modeling is who leaders are.

As a leader of a business, family, church, sports team or wherever you aim to influence people for good, ask yourself in which of the roles are you strongest and in which would an investment in your growth make all the difference to keep you aligned with your vision, purpose and desired outcome.

Corey Stanford

Author Corey Stanford

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