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Healthy Leadership

Alan Andersen

What does your mind think of when you hear a title like “Healthy Leadership”? Maybe you're reminded of the time(s) you worked under an ill-equipped supervisor. Or more positively you’re mindful of great leaders from the past like Margaret Thatcher, Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr., etc.

Well, have you looked up the definition of “Leadership” recently? If you’re like me, you have. Here are just 2 of the dozen similar definitions that I found.

Leadership is...

A position as a leader of a group, organization, etc. (Merriam Webster)

The position or function of a leader, a person who guides or directs a group; ability to lead. (American Heritage)

Anything missing?

What is amazing about these definitions is that they are silent as to the quality or value of leadership. In other words, the health of the leader and his or her leadership style is not necessarily a factor! Maybe this is why we seem to have a shortage of great men and women to “lead us”.

When we mention the likes of Margaret Thatcher, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., one of the common themes for these great people is that they influenced others. They did not merely persuade or manipulate, like is common practice now.

In this post, let’s look at one side of the coin. Namely, how influence works inside the context of healthy leadership. 

A healthy leader will…

  1. Engage their people to trust

  2. Empower their people to productive action

  3. Equip their people with the necessary tools and resources

When a leader engages, empowers and equips their subordinates, colleagues, and superiors they are essentially creating a collaborative environment where people are able to transform and thrive over the long haul through the medium of influence! Boy, that is a mouthful, but do you need to read it again?

“Well, no. I get it. And I even think this is all fine and good, Alan. But how can I know if I or my managers are truly healthy leaders?” Great question!

The litmus test for a healthy leader is your people. More specifically your department or organization is a reflection of you. And yes, I even mean that the person who is lowest common denominator still is a reflection of you and your leadership.

To be sure, there are several factors to consider as we look at growing into a healthy leader. For instance...

  • How long have you been leading this team?
  • Did you assemble the team from scratch or inherit from a previous manager?
  • How long have the respective employees been with the organization?
  • How much interaction do you have with your people?

However when you look at the net result, you see that your people are striving to grow, just like you. They are showing consistent, albeit incremental growth on the daily.

I’ll land the plane with this question, “Are you set up for a ‘Win’ to be a healthy leader?” If the answer is not a resounding “yes” then I would consider how you can create space to grow your capacity for healthy leadership. Look at getting an executive coach, mentor or model for healthy leadership.

After all, healthy leadership is the only way to pass the test of time. Influence always trumps persuasion and manipulation.

Pulling for you,

Alan Andersen

This article also appeared at True Life Coaching, a subsidiary of Shandel Group. If you enjoyed this post, read Shandel's book, Clarity: Focusing on What Matters.

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