Become a leader who shapes outcomes

As a Leader of Leaders, one transitions from managing day-to-day operations to shaping strategic narratives and the broader organisational direction. This blog illustrates this transition, some of the challenges, and practical guidance for becoming a leader who effectively shapes outcomes.

Liked this post? Share with others!

When you become a leader of leaders, you become a shaper of the world around you.

In most team-leader roles, you mostly run what someone else has shaped. Perhaps you were involved in shaping it to some extent, but overall, your job was to run it and make sure the work got done.

To do this, a core part of your role is about making sense of what’s going on, determining why this is happening, and generating possibilities for where things should go next. You are also more involved in engaging others, especially your leadership team, and either convincing them that your narrative is the right one or working with them to create the narrative together. Let’s look at an example.

James was the leader of a small team of three people. The team’s job was to mass-produce CD recordings of live music, process the orders as they came in, and then dispatch the CDs out. James and his team could make minor adjustments to work processes, but on the whole James’s job was to make sure the CD orders were filled correctly and dispatched. They were a small team, and it was a busy job.

I knew James at the time he had this position. Looking back, what was interesting was the way he talked in short sentences, often checking his phone for messages and calls. If a conversation went longer than ten to fifteen seconds, he would start looking around and fidgeting. He also moved fast – not just his legs when he was walking, but his whole body. His movements were short and sharp, and he was constantly in motion in some way. His mood always seemed rushed, urgent and task-focused. James was very successful at this job, which we could label as that of a ‘coordinator’. If we think about James’s way-of-being in a job like this, it would probably look something like this:

Eventually, James moved into a leader-of-leaders role. He was familiar with the concept of way-of-being, and worked to apply it in his transition to his new role. If you had known James before, when he was a team leader, you wouldn’t recognise him as the same person in the way he approached his new role. Well, he of course still looks the same and is mostly still the same person, but he is different enough that you would notice.

The first difference you would observe about James is that he now moves slower than he used to. He sustains longer and wider-ranging conversations. He has a mood of curiosity and exploration. He is still focused and energised at work, but no longer quite as manic. His language is more exploratory and questioning. James has shifted his way-of-being.

Let’s label this way-of-being that of the ‘shaper’. In comparison to the coordinator way-of-being, the shaper’s looks something more like this:

If James had not become a better observer of his own way-of-being, he would have continued doing his new senior leadership role in the same way. Straight away, you can see some of the big problems he would’ve hit. For starters, he wouldn’t have spent the time to devote his slower and more considered focus towards the future and the whole system, which is a unique aspect of his new role. And if he wasn’t doing that, no one else would be.

Fortunately for James, he very quickly picked up on the need to shift his way-of-being.

Being Leaders delivers a leadership development program, working with people who are navigating their leader-of-leaders role. Based on the concepts in the Amazon best-seller, Becoming a Leader of Leaders, the program provides practical tools and resources to help people transform from overworked to incredibly impactful.

Transform your people from overworked to incredibly impactful.

Contact Being Leaders to find out more.

Subscribe to the Being Leaders newsletter

Be the first to know when we share new leadership insights.

Is your way-of-being impacting your leadership?

The answer is yes. Leadership happens in moments; moments of sense-making, moments of relationship-building, and moments of decision-making. Your way-of-being is your overall state at any moment of the day. It determines how you adapt, respond and lead at any given moment.

Read More »

Podcast: Leadership as a neural network

The leader-of-leaders role is the most significant position in any organisation. With design and decision rights and the ability to influence broadly across an organisation, and even beyond to external stakeholders, the leader-of-leaders role is at the epicentre of staff morale, discretionary effort and staff retention – it can make or break an organisation.

Read More »

Ready to up-skill your leadership team?

Find out how Being Leaders can meet your organisations leadership development needs. 

Got a question? Let us know.