How do modern leaders hold up? [een 9-stappenplan]

Modern leaders are expected to be able to cope with everything: targets on
multiple levels
rapid changes in the marketplace, assertive customers and proactive colleagues. At the same time, those proactive colleagues expect more
servant leadership
of you. Your job changes from managing to motivating and you are expected to operate as a cooperative foreman or forewoman. That all sounds very logical, but how do you keep it up? How do you ensure that your business continues to grow while taking into account the people you work with and the environment in which you operate? In this blog I will discuss 9 steps you can take to function well as a modern leader and continue to develop.

1. Analyse what you are doing

An open door, but an important one: analyse the current situation. What are you doing as a company? Where do you want to go with your team? What specific objectives do you have? What’s going well, what’s not? Do the activities still fit within the overall plan? Or have things changed since then? In the organization, in your department, team or project? Watch out for endless pile-driving sessions to arrive at this insight. Work quickly and efficiently with
funnel methods
allowing you to focus only on important information.

2. Determine the conditions that will enable you to achieve your objectives.

Depending on the goals, you determine what it takes to grow your business in the right way. For example, do you need certain people with a specific background? Or do you need the support or information of certain stakeholders? Or a certain amount of time? Share the answers to these questions with your team so that everyone is clear about the field in which he or she must “operate” in order to be successful.

3. Determine the strategy and the steps to be taken

Once the objectives and conditions are clear to everyone, you can move on to the third step: determining your strategy and the steps to be taken. Are you a purchasing manager and want 25% of your purchases within a year to be sustainable or circular products from suppliers your team selects independently? Then determine what steps are needed to achieve this.

4. Give shape to the plans

Then start shaping the steps. For example, hold an inspiration session with the team, take one product category as a pilot and give a few team members the opportunity to buy sustainably. After evaluating their experiences, the other team members can work with it and you can expand the product categories. In this way you keep the project manageable and you can quickly respond to obstacles that arise during the process. Keep in touch with your team during both planning and execution by organizing a short weekly meeting and a 1-on-1 meeting when necessary.

5. Determine what and who you need

Good plans are nice; in the end it’s all about the execution. As a modern leader, you need connectors who set up networks. So first analyse your existing network: do you have contact with the right people? If not, you will need to broaden your network and that means stepping out of your comfort zone. For example, you could talk to the director and present your plans for
sustainable procurement
submit your plans to him. At first this may seem like a very big step, but you will see that when you have that person with you, he or she can make the connections with the right people for you and the next steps for your plans will also become easier.

In addition to connectors, you need ambassadors (enthusiastic and inspiring people with a passion for the project) and calculators: what are the costs of the plans, objectives and sub-steps? Do we have enough budget? What are we going to spend the money on? Make sure you have good people around you who have a solid financial understanding and keep you well informed.

6. Ensure quick wins

When you are taking the steps towards the goals, make sure you build in space for
quick wins
. These small, quickly achievable results are hugely important for yourself and your team. They ensure that you get people on board and keep them involved. Make sure you have an inspiring overall goal and give feedback when you have achieved a nice intermediate result towards that goal. Your team members want to know what they are committed to and how far they are on their way to achieving those goals. And as a modern leader, you have an important role in this.

7. Set a good example

As a modern leader, it is also important to set a good example, with a
leadership style
that matches the values you as an organization strive for. If it is your policy to listen carefully to external partners and other stakeholders, then listen carefully to your own team members as well. Ask them for input and express your appreciation. Are you the purchasing manager who wants to purchase more sustainably? Then don’t use plastic disposable bottles yourself, but switch to sustainable alternatives. As a result, organizational objectives go hand in hand with your own behavior. At the same time, be careful not to force people to follow your example. Release them and guide them. So don’t go
micro-manage
but deal with the “what” and “why”, not the “how”.

8. Dare to adjust

Does it go wrong somewhere halfway through the project? For example, when the budget threatens to be exceeded? Then intervene, but also give people time to find a solution themselves. Let them come up with proposals and make them feel more committed to the goals. This can produce surprisingly original and effective solutions!

9. Look ahead

You’re not done with the above tips: they are cycles. If you have the project or your team well in hand, go for further development. Renew! Don’t start navel-gazing or developing policy plans for the next 10 years, but focus on the near future. In this, as a modern leader, you really have the leading role. Recognize new developments in the market and adjust your strategy accordingly. In this way you will continue to develop yourself as a modern leader and you can start working with your team towards those goals that you have set together.

Support for modern leaders

Want to know more about how to operate well as a modern leader in tomorrow’s economy? Then download the e-book Leadership in the economy of value below. Or
click here
for our leadership training courses.

Pim Valentijn

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