COVID-19 has raised our awareness of uncertainty and volatility, and emphasised our need to build resilience to mitigate future risks. Governance and risk professionals have an important leadership role to play in this process.
The Global Risk report 2021 (World Economic Forum) clearly states that: “Strengthening strategic foresight is now more important than ever. With the world more attuned to risk, there is an opportunity to leverage attention and find more effective ways to identify and communicate risk to decision-makers.” The recent Future of the risk management professional report (Governance Institute of Australia) also states that:
- People skills are more important than data analytics skills. 81% of respondents believe creative, out of the box thinking will be required to be effective, 80% believe communications and stakeholder engagement skills are needed, and 70% data analytics skills.
- Many are not yet well prepared to meet future challenges as reflected by 69% of respondents.
To become a more effective and impactful leader today calls for something entirely new.
A different way of leading
I want to introduce you to ‘Wise Leadership’, a renewed, holistic perspective on how to lead yourself and others in a variety of unique contexts. Wise leaders have the energy to create more positive impact with less stress.
This way of leading puts equal importance on three areas: self, stakeholders and systems. We often forget that we can only give what we have got. Thus, before you can lead others effectively, you need to take care of yourself. Leading stakeholders means to focus on activating the best in them. Leading in systems requires you to be fully aware of all relevant contexts and allow these to be your guide.
Each of the three areas is supported by three practices: connect, care and commit.
Connect is all about awareness
You always have awareness of what is happening in and around you. You observe it in a calm way, with curiosity and compassion. By accepting what is, you are able to pinpoint challenges and their causes. Accepting something does not mean that you condone it. You are just noticing a reality.
Care is all about action
You deeply care for people and planet — and all beings in nature. You approach all leadership tasks with a sense of care. You have the courage to be vulnerable and kind. You align your vision, values and purpose with new insights and decide on your next action steps.
Commit is all about accountability and delivering results
You take full personal responsibility to create positive, win-win results and changes. You’re spreading hope and aim for positive impact. You implement your action and accountability plan and are flexible and adaptive. Learning increases awareness and connection.
Connect, care, commit are perpetual learning and leadership processes that are needed for all levels of leadership: leading self, stakeholders and systems.
To effectively connect, care and commit takes skill.
9 Skills of Wise Leaders
Combine the three areas with the three practices, you get the following 9 key leadership skills.
Leading your SELF:
- Self-Awareness: Notice your state
Self-awareness is an awareness of your internal world (body, mind, emotions, spirit), and how you connect to the contexts of others and to environments. Higher levels of self-awareness take you out off autopilot.
- Energy Management: Prioritise your self-care
The management of your personal energy is self-care. It includes all healthy and wholesome care activities that have the potential to improve your holistic wellbeing and performance in a sustainable way.
- Accountability: Create energy for change
Things only get better when you feel 100% responsible for achieving a specific outcome. You are the only person responsible for how you show up at work. You can’t lead others until you lead yourself.
Leading your STAKEHOLDERS:
- Communication: Get to know each other
Communication is about creating meaningful connections with other people. Ideally, it’s an exchange process with respect, curiosity, discovery and shared meaning. Labelling someone as ‘difficult’ says more about your mindset and worldview than it does about them. It also limits your potential to influence.
- Collaboration: Work together
Collaboration is about working together towards a shared vision or goal that’s too big for one person to achieve. Ideally, collaboration creates community spirit and natural flow; we is more important than me. When people feel like they are valued members of a strong community, they are more likely to deliver better results.
- Influence: Commit to win for all
Influence is leadership without authority. A wise, influential leader makes things happen without persuasion or coercion, while being fully committed to creating a win for all parties. Facts alone no longer convince stakeholders, but effective influence leads to achieving your goals and vision.
Leading in SYSTEMS:
- Context-Awareness: Sense the whole system
Everything is connected and influences your results. You learn to notice and understand all levels and perspectives of your unique context and that of others.
- Stewardship: Care about and for the system
By approaching all people and environments around you with a sense of care, you become a force for good and a strategic influencer.
- Impact: Define what success is
Every leadership action has an impact. How you define success determines how you relate to it to become naturally successful.
By practising all 9 Wise Leadership skills, you’ll move from surviving to thriving professionally and personally.
You’ll have clarity and focus on the right things at the right time. It becomes easier to activate the right people to support your cause and projects. You achieve more with less stress. Watch your influence and positive impact grow.