"The moment leaders think they have nothing more to learn and have no obligation to help develop those they lead is the moment they ensure they’ll never know their true potential."
If there is only one book you read on the topic of leadership this year, Leadership 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves is it!
This book takes the popular but broad and sometimes ambiguous topic of leadership and breaks it down into two skillsets that all leaders need: Core competencies and adaptive competencies.
The core competencies of leaders are the fundamentals for any successful leader. These are the skills that, when practiced, get you into leadership positions.
Adaptive competencies, on the other hand, take leadership development to the next level! These skills are what separate the great leaders from the average ones.
What I loved most about this book was that the strategies provided for further developing your leadership competencies and skills are tangible and achievable with practice. They’re straightforward and supported by real-life examples of leaders who were both effective and ineffective in the skill being discussed.
In addition to that, every book comes with a unique code that helps you assess your current leadership abilities. After completing a quick assessment, you are provided with a report that shows you where your current leadership strengths and weaknesses are and which skills you should focus on improving first. If that’s not enough, the report specifically tells you which strategies you should focus on (provided in the book), and lays out ground rules for success – such as focusing on one strategy at a time or finding a leadership mentor. This was by far one of the most valuable parts of the book.
This book was so full of useful information that it was difficult to narrow it down to what is most helpful. All I can really say is that if becoming a more effective leader is something you want to achieve, this book is a must read.
The Big Idea
Become an Adaptive Leader
"You should approach your practice of new leadership skills with the mindset of an athlete. Any day you walk into the office could be the most challenging day you’ve faced."
If you really want to up your leadership game and take your impact and effectiveness to the next level, you need to focus on those leadership skills that aren’t as traditional or obvious.
Everyone seems to be aware of the importance of being an effective communicator or of having vision and mobilizing others as a leader, but how many of us regularly take the time to self reflect, seeking to better understand how our emotions drive our behaviours and how to manage them? To seek truth and really ensure the people we are leading feel valued? To be the kind of leader who stops and ask themselves “Am I walking my talk?”
Adaptive leadership is about having the integrity to do what you say, the credibility to authentically move others toward action, and about constantly finding or creating new and innovative ways to expand the boundaries of your leadership effectiveness. It’s about lifelong learning and development of ourselves and of those we lead.
Adapt Your Leadership Style to the Situation
"The best leaders are adept at tailoring their leadership styles to the unique needs of their employees. Unfortunately, this is not the norm."
As a leader, it’s easy to believe that the most effective way to lead others is to know your leadership style and simply apply that to those you lead. We may go as far as demanding those we lead to adapt to our style rather than the other way around.
But that’s an old school way of looking at leadership. As a leader, you need to have the ability and agility to adjust your style to meet the needs of those you lead and to the situation at hand. This is the new way of the adaptive leader.
So how do we go about doing this? How do we really seek to maximize our potential and the potential of those we lead? This can be particularly hard if you’re the kind of leader who may be stuck in your ways.
One of the ways to do this is to stop looking at what you can’t do or can’t change and start to own what you have control over and focus on staying flexible and open-minded, despite what the situation may be.
Talk to those who aren’t affected by the change that you’re experiencing, get fresh, new perspectives and seek out those who you trust to help you view your situation from a different vantage point.
Doing this will help you better understand not only the situation but also you in that situation. Stop asking yourself questions like “What kind of leader am I?” and start asking the question “In this situation, what kind of leader do I need to be?”
Improve Your Self-Awareness
"When you are self aware, you are far more likely to pursue the right opportunities, put your strengths to work, and – perhaps most importantly – keep your emotions from holding you back."
Self-awareness is the most important skill that an adaptive and effective leader needs to develop.
There, I said it.
If you’re unable, as a leader to accurately perceive and understand your own emotional tendencies in the moment and across situations, how could you possibly understand those of others?
Being self-aware means staying on top of and accountable to your reactions to events, people and challenges. Leaders who are high in self-awareness are exceptionally clear in understanding what drives them, their areas of strength and weakness, and what people or situations trigger them or set them off most often. Developing a strong sense of self-awareness is foundational to leadership and makes everything else (managing emotions in tense situations, for example) that much easier.
In fact, self-awareness is so important that studies have shown that as it increases so does an individual’s satisfaction with life. Not only that, but it has been shown to be important for job satisfaction. 83% of people who are high in self-awareness are identified as top performers (whereas only 2% of bottom performers were identified as such).
Ultimately, Leadership 2.0 is about helping you get more and better results as a leader.
This book speaks to all leaders at any stage in their development. Whether you’re a Millennial who’s just starting out in your career and are looking for a way to really stand out amongst the competition, or you’re a Boomer who’s been in a leadership position for years and is looking for inspiration that you can turn into action, this book will help!
There are so many tangible and achievable skills and strategies in this book that I’m confident that this is the kind of book you will keep close to you and refer to regularly as you develop your skills and continue on your leadership journey.