Leader of the Pack
It's a cute picture. Nothing gets attention more than a cute puppy. But there are some lessons in leadership here. Let me explain. Here is Scooby the pup. He's spent the last 3 months learning how to be part of the pack from Lola the black Lab and Alfie the Spaniel. He's learnt how to play from them, how to chew bones, what to do when we go for a walk and what the routines are during the day.
As a leader, we have the same role as Lola and Alfie. Our role is to model values, expectations and skills and what it is to be a leader. So how do we do it?
I would recommend M,M&Ms.
Firstly it comes from modelling what we want to see happen. How we behave sets the tone. But we can be more intentional about this through purposefully developing someone in a leadership value or skill
There is a simple role here of APPRENTICING. The model is
I do - you watch
I do - you help
You do - I help
You do - I watch
They are then ready to apprentice someone else with
You do - someone else watches
This can be as simple as how you hold a conversation, how you deal with a difficult person, how you chair a meeting. The apprenticing process can help develop skills.
Like modelling, Miranda Moments can really help others to know how to do something. Miranda is the TV comedy character. On her show she, at times, turns to the camera and explains her thinking or how she feels about something. She engages the audience. As a leader, we can turn to those we are working with and explain our thinking or why we chose the choice of action. It is most powerful when we ask them what they noticed and help them break down what we did and why we did it. It gives them the tools to use a similar approach.
If you have ever seen Meerkats (real ones, not the ones that sell you insurance) you will notice that when they see or hear something significant they sit up and look. Meerkat Moments in leadership is using praise of things that you expect to see to get the focus of people. So when you see one of the team doing a great job, modelling the value you want to see, you highlight that to other staff. "Well done to Jenny for the calm way that she managed the negotiation by rally listening to the customer's needs." That causes others to look to copy that because that is what go the leader's attention.
So, as a leader, what your pack becomes is set by the expectations ad behaviour that you have. So to do this we need to be clear ourselves. What values do I want? What behaviour models those values? What skills are needed to do the job well? Get clear on those and then focus on Modelling, Meerkat-ing and Miranda-ing them.
Rudyard Kipling wrote
“For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.” ― Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Book.
How we work as a pack can bring strength to the individual. But the ethos of the pack, the way it behaves, the values it has, the skills that are developed, is shaped by the leader. Be the leader of your pack.