May 27 2022| Leadership | leaders | Values

‘Off-the-map’ mindsets for leaders in a post-pandemic era

May IoD Breakfast 2022

by Phil Eyre Leaders' Founder

Today’s IoD Guernsey Breakfast focused on The New Meaning of Leadership in a Post-Pandemic Era. It was a joy to join the panel to explore this.

Here are my key takeaways: 

All great leadership, in any setting and any era, is morally courageous. It’s having the ability and determination to decide with high conviction and implement decisions with compassion. It is this blend of conviction and compassion that creates excellent, sustainable impact and results.  

High-conviction decisions are fostered in a strong sense of purpose, understanding why the work is important and ultimately making a positive difference to people and/or the world. High-conviction leaders are authentic, living their values in all aspects of life, not as marketing tools but as a compass for work and life choices.  

Compassion is rooted in a desire to make other people’s lives better. It requires a choice to understand other people’s perspectives, to set aside my agenda and experiences in favour of understanding their position. The very best leaders lead with heart, rejecting selfish seductions in favour of a serve-to-lead ethos.  

At this particular point in time, with the foundation of moral courage, leaders must embrace an off-the-map mindset. We cannot predict the future with any degree of certainty. If we rest too strongly on assumptions about the future, we will miss opportunities and risks. The future is unmapped.  

Off-the-map leadership can be observed like this:  

1) A sense of adventure. Adventure is an unusual, exciting or daring experience. Off-the-map leaders possess a sense of adventure, embracing considered risks and making themselves uncomfortable in the search for exciting, even daring, outcomes and experiences. Leaders who choose comfort will not excel in today’s world. It’s about identifying a future objective and then planning strategic actions that take courage and effort, overcoming fear to achieve them. Leaders who have lost their sense of adventure must rediscover some passion or pass the baton to those with more determination.  

In our experience, the most compelling leaders set themselves objectives that they know will make them sweat’ a little; they’re uncomfortable and risky. They choose to work hard to resist the worry and tension which inevitably arise. We’re human after all. They seek to act daily toward these objectives and remain patient - not forcing things - at the same time.  

2) Invite unusual perspectives. It is nothing short of arrogance to assert that we know precisely what’s around the corner. We all need people who can help us to see what we can’t yet see and, when we get there, to navigate what we’re not yet experienced in. Leaders must embrace unusual perspectives, broadening their sources of information and insight. Reverting to the same old sources, however trusted and helpful, will not provide the breadth of perspective that’s needed. In fact, the best leaders go one step further and deliberately invite ideas and input from people whom they find a little irritating or frustrating. This takes time and the choice to place ourselves in less-familiar circumstances. The challenge here is choosing to meet with people and go to places that are not familiar, but that can help inform ideas. What’s worked in the past may not work well in the future.  

3) True partnerships. I may consider whether to abandon talking about collaboration. The word does not sufficiently convey the depth of relationship that makes a true partnership valuable. This is a moment in time when truly pulling together is essential if we are to navigate such an uncertain future.  

Relationships that have a transactional feel to them will deliver transactional results. Partnerships - deeper, trusting relationships - will enable transformation. There are two hurdles for all of us to overcome. Deeper relationships are risky. A transactional relationship reduces, perhaps even removes (often via formal agreements), the consequences of the other party letting us down. For example, a prenuptial agreement. Deeper relationships carry risk, there are consequences to us in being let down. If we are able to accept these risks, and recognise that we also present a risk to the other person or people, we have the beginning of what we call a ‘deeper partnership.  

The second hurdle is effort. The very best relationships in your life have taken some effort, action, time, energy and commitment. True partnerships require commitment, including unhurried time together. In a world that seems evermore hasty, we must put more effort, not less, into our most important relationships.  

Challenge yourself with implementing some of our observations. Contact us at Leaders to find out more. 

About The Author | Phil Eyre

Phil is Leaders’ founder. He has an enthusiastic and inspiring style, drawing on his experience in business, academia and social sectors to help any leadership team to achieve phenomenal performance. Phil has significant expertise in sophisticated psychometrics and in the application of human data for individual, team and organisational success. He has trained with and been mentored by, global leaders in this field, notably Dr Chuck Coker in the US. Phil began his career in the UK offshore finance industry in 1994, working for a wealth management company, Canaccord Genuity Wealth International. Phil was head of the company's Guernsey division, with a staff of 120 and assets under management of £4.5billion before resigning from executive responsibilities in 2008. Since launching Leaders in 2017, Phil has worked with many senior executives and boards primarily in the Channel Islands and City of London. He regularly writes for a variety of business publications and is often invited to speak at events for institutions such as the IoD and the British Army. Phil works closely with clients on focussed projects and long-term retainers to raise leadership standards. He is a popular and inspiring educator and coach who, with the insights gained from psychometrics, is able to accurately detect the strengths and weaknesses in leadership teams and boards. Phil has served on the boards of various charities, ran the Guernsey hub of a national theology college, received accreditation as a pastor in the Baptist Union of Great Britain and is accredited in various motivation and behavioural techniques.

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