4 Steps to Leadership Clarity

Alan Weber is one of the best business journalists around. As an award-winning editor, author and columnist, he launched Fast Company, the fastest growing, most successful business magazine in history.

He is coauthor of three business-related books, including most recently, Rules of Thumb: 52 Truths for Winning at Business Without Losing Your Self. It’s full of nuggets of wisdom that can easily be applied by managers and leaders.

He attributes most of what he’s learned about leadership to four leadership experts, all  of whom I’ve read and studied extensively.

Here’s Weber’s summary of how to put leadership lessons to work for you:

  1. Begin with an assessment of yourself. What is your own working definition of leadership? If you have one, you better write it down. It doesn’t matter if you borrowed it, learned it from a mentor or a book, or if you formulated it yourself. What does it say about the way you work with people? Are you a motivator, a decider, a sense-maker?
  2. Do another assessment of your organization. Can you write out in a few words what your company does and how it defines itself, how it does business?
  3. Write out your company’s values. Can you name at least four values that are evident by your company’s work? Do your people know them?
  4. What are your key metrics? Are you keeping what’s measured relevant and to a minimum?

There’s a lot of common sense to be derived from writing out your answers to these four questions. It can help you see clearly, and consequently communicate in a focused way that moves people to take action.

This little nugget is tucked away at the end of Rule #19 which asks leaders to focus on reducing the signal to noise ratio. That is an electrical engineering term to describe the ratio of the power of a signal to the power of the noise that is corrupting the signal. The higher the ratio, the clearer your message.

Can you hear me now?

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