If I had to select one word to describe the kind of leaders who engage and create the most value from their participation with nLIVEn, it would be “pioneering”.
These individuals, however, do not automatically associate themselves with the word pioneering – as the traits of this style are often so engrained in their personality. Pioneering leaders do not readily identify themselves as distinctly different – it is simply the way they unconsciously approach life and business alike.
There are six common characteristics of a Pioneering Leader:
- They are entrepreneurial individuals who desire and seek to involve themselves in leading new developments
- They are highly motivated by a noble vision and driven to make that vision a reality
- They bring vision, direction, passion and motivation to the team
- They value medium to high risk reward ventures
- They are strong change agents within the life of an organisation
- They encourage the group to think creatively about its options and take chances on new opportunities
The Pioneer’s Fingerprints
You can identify the contributions of a pioneering leader from their fingerprints – they leave them all over everything they touch. Typically, pioneering leaders make three kinds of significant and lasting differences within their organisations and industries:
1. Finding Opportunities
Pioneering leaders are often great at finding new opportunities and directions for the group and others may admire their ability to envision new possibilities.
2. Stretching the Boundaries
Pioneering leaders challenge the group to push beyond its comfort zone and help envision a new way of doing things.
3. Promoting Bold Action
Pioneering leaders encourage people to take bold action and they’re willing to take chances that could broaden the group’s horizons.
Pitfalls of Pioneering Leaders
Being a pioneering leader is not easy: your work can be challenged or criticised and there are others who would like to see you fail.
Pioneering leaders can be susceptible to burnout. It is critical that they learn how to manage their energy, not just their time, to achieve and sustain high performance.
Pioneering leaders are also at risk of fall-out. At times they can be overly task-orientated and find others losing engagement with their vision. It is imperative that they learn to confront situations, resolve conflict and restore commitment. Alternatively, they might need to seek out a partner with outstanding people skills to bring the team along on the journey and counterbalance this task focus. This may take the form of a business partner, COO and/or external coach, advisor.
Pioneering leaders revel in breaking unchartered territory, where no map is provided. They excel in the early stage of new ventures and then need competent managers and implementers to see their projects come to fruition. Boards and executives engage them to drive fundamental, systemic and transformational change in their organisations.
Leading change does not need to be energy intensive, nor a lonely journey. Witnessing the accomplishment of your vision is deeply satisfying and profoundly fulfilling.
By Glenn Williams.
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