An example from flow consulting’s coaching practice: This case was and still is very special. After all, it reveals what ‘leading’ means when having no direct authority and when hierarchical constellations are missing. Here is what it’s about:
An operating officer in a leadership position of a trade organization – let’s call him Peter L. – is responsible for leading employees of a service provider (partner firm) next to his own direct subordinates. He has official authority in terms of showing expertise. But he is not able to take any disciplinary measures at the service provide. A situation that is similar to a matrix organization or in agile teams.
Directive leadership has brought only little success so far
Peter leads his own staff based on a “hard and straight” principle and also applies that type of leadership to the employees of the service provider he deals with. If necessary, he demonstrates which products are being worked on incorrectly, which lead times are inefficient, and which processes must be optimized. However, this rather direct leadership style has shown only little success so far. Even worse: The relationship to the partner firm’s employees cools down. Additionally, Peter feels that behind his back, they do not take up his advice. Everything runs the old, usual way, and consequently the revealed mistakes are not abolished and still occur.
What to do in this difficult situation?
Winning influence to leadership
Our coaching sessions show that Peter lacks assertion in imposing his will. This surprises thinking of his rather directive leadership style. However, his leadership authority is only limited, since he lacks to being able to “threaten” with consequences. Peter L.:” If I needed to threat it would only show that I am unable to lead properly”.
The Gordian knot of the coaching session aims to: On the one hand developing Peter’s ability to assert his opinion in a way that is not only based hierarchy but on personal authority. On the other hand, he needs to change his “teacher style” and rather “offensive” form of communication.
The MDA in the Power-Potential-Profile® – an instrument for leadership analysis – revealed which levers Peter needs to lift to increase his influence. That was for example the introduction of fixed communication structures with key persons. Which by the way helps him to change his communication style. But the most important point is the development of Peter’s attitude towards his role as a leader. In only few coaching sessions Peter finds ways to expand his influence at the partner firm.
The development of his attitude and abilities, change of communication-behaviour, building trustful relationships to key persons and some other structural measures have significantly strengthened Peter’s assertion at the service provider. We call it the “shaping leadership attitude” or just “shaping leadership”.
The following link leads you to a chart with an overview over what “shaping leadership” means in detail. For the ones who would like to find out more about the topic of leadership, try out the MDA as part of the Power-Potential-Profile® yourself.