The Importance of Perspective in Leadership
When we think about good leadership, we need to consider perspectives. Good leadership for one person, or in one situation, may not be good for others, and so on. Leaders need to be adaptable and flexible – not just because the world around us is changing so rapidly (although that is also very important).
Leaders need to be able to adapt and connect with the stakeholders and teams. Leaders need to lead in good times and during a crisis. and they need to create a vision and infuence stakeholders in a way that resonates with the cultural norms of the organisation.
Leaders in an organisation will be measured according to the organisation’s normal leadership processes and expectations – the organisational perspective. A leader needs to align their personal vision to organisational vision, to lead authentically, whilst aligned to the organisational values and cultural norms in the organisation. This does not preclude leaders from creating change; rather that they seek to communicate a vision and influence stakeholders in a way that meets organisational needs.
Good will be defined from our own unique view of the world: our unique perspective. Our individual needs from a leader are unique to ourselves as our own character strengths and blind spots mean that we each look for support in different ways. A leader needs to be all things to all people.
This is also individual to the leader’s perspective. Every leader will have natural leadership strengths – those “good” traits that come most easily to them and are most intuitive. We need diversity of character in leadership teams so that we learn to value the strengths of others, not just those that we value in ourselves. If members of my leadership team are similar to me, there would a huge gap in our natural, intuitive leadership strengths that we might be oblivious to – and this is very dangerous in a crisis.
A leader will also be defined by circumstance: good leadership in one situation may be wholly ineffective in another, if applied in exactly the same way. The pandemic has thrown this into stark relief as leaders everywhere have had to change pace, react and adapt on an almost daily basis. Good leadership is therefore versatile and adaptable to the external situation.