The subject of leadership has been coming up quite a bit in recent client conversations. We mostly see it as an art that is not easily acquired; perhaps it is innate (or not). Increasingly I see this viewpoint as wrong. Leadership is mainly method, and it can be learnt. Let me explain.
What leaders do.
Leaders enable their organisation to imagine a future reality and then make it happen. That’s about it. In the past, this process has mostly been personal and apparently magical because there has been no effective way to ‘institutionalise’ it – to make it something that the whole organisation can do. The only management process that even hinted at leadership was strategic planning and this was clunky and stilted. So, our business leaders took on the persona of sorcerers. Artists, yes, but practising a black art that apparently could not be shared.
Then, along came RIOS.
It took me a while to realise that the RIOS process I developed over several years effectively de-mystified leadership. It provided a language and a method to imagine a future reality (Winning) and then make it happen. Working with the model, I have learnt that the only thing a leader needs to do is develop a good quality RIOS agenda and ensure it is implemented. Then the organisation knows how to win. In this sense, RIOS is the business leaders methodology.
So, is leadership an art? My answer is that it no longer has to be.