Leading Your Organization – “Whom Do I Lead?” – Part IV
The final part in your leadership skillset is your relationship to your organization, as a whole. Having described people (you and others), and processes (performance and change), the larger organization should also be a focus of your leadership. You are not leading in a vacuum. As you gain experience as a leader, you must understand how your leadership efforts and results fit into the broader structure of your organization, and what partners are connected to your team. You must not only understand how your own systems work, but how they interact with systems outside your organization. To succeed with your team, you must know how coalitions and partnerships help meet the mission requirements and your expected organization results. So, in what specific ways does this work?
First, you are a good steward of the resources of your agency. You balance risk with mission accomplishment and understand that you will need those resources tomorrow, and the next day, and the next year. Protecting the investment in those resources while meeting the task at hand is a crucial balancing act at which you must excel.
In today’s world, you must understand and embrace the technology that supports your mission, and be mindful of new technologies that can help your decision-making. Fully appreciating the impact of technology on your organization is a crucial effort that can make or break your team.
Especially in the public sector, having a broad understanding of financial management principles is key to leading your organization. Preparing long range plans that account for fiscal realities, aligning operations and desired results within budget constraints, and seeking cost-effective solutions are all leadership skillsets that are in demand in today’s world.
Leaders are able to look “big picture” of the human capital of their organization and understand the manner in which the organization recruits, selects, develops, promotes, evaluates, and rewards their most valuable resource. Leaders understand the critical need to have continuity and consensus across the various subunits and groups within their larger team.
Leaders understand and accept the need to be externally aware of key developments within their profession, such as policy, changes in best practices, and the climate of which the team strives for success. They acknowledge that broad partnerships and identifying key stakeholders is key to the success of the team.
Lastly, leaders react quickly to crises, solve urgent problems in a timely fashion, consider time horizons, and acknowledge the need for a strategic view. Thinking strategically means focusing on what you are trying to accomplish, and accurate and timely considerations of what future resources, partnerships, and developments may occur that could affect operations.
So there it is. Whom do I Lead? Yourself, others, key processes, and the organization to whom you are a committed teammate and member. As you practice your leadership arts every day, keep these four areas in mind.