LEADERSHIP: IS IT MORE LIKE POKER OR CHES...

LEADERSHIP: IS IT MORE LIKE POKER OR CHESS?
by Tim Pascoe

Leading often has parallels with playing both poker and chess. As in poker: you can be dealt handsome court cards (say, buoyant markets and customer growth) or the low, unsmiling ones (of supplier problems and staff illnesses). If luck runs your way, you may win regardless of personal ability or effort. And, vice versa, if luck's against you. In chess, there is less luck (perhaps none), since both sides start with the same resources and options. There is more room for strategy, but less for bluffing - since the pieces and their location are visible to each player. So, which would your people say is more your style: poker or chess? To start your thinking, here are four questions to ask yourself.

* Do I have a leadership action plan? Setting out what I, as leader, will do so team members want to make my project successful? If not, do I know what's holding them back - from full understanding and commitment? For example...
* Which two of the following are their most pressing questions? Where are we going? Can we do it? How should we behave? What output is required? Where and how do we all fit in? Or, what if our world erupts? When you've answered that...
* What style of actions would my people suggest I take to address their top-two concerns? Perhaps, setting a clearer vision; or, taking charge more energetically; showing more decisiveness - or compassion; demonstrating sharper technical skill; or, investing more effort in staff development; or, responding more urgently to changing conditions. They're only illustrative but may give you a flavour of where you could add distinctive value - thus encouraging people to trust and follow you. Then finally...
* What specific actions will I take? What will hit home for my people and make them enthusiastic to drive ahead and ensure things succeed? The who, the what and the when!

The last three points summarise the consulting process I've used with a wide range of clients over the last decade to help them develop their Leadership Action Plans. And, this is now online and vastly less expensive. In an hour, you can work through the VECTOR framework, homing in on actions that respond to your followers' needs - and will make you a higher performing leader. The result: a Personal Action List (PAL), which you can email to colleagues for feedback and discussion - and update as you move ahead.

You'll never eliminate luck. But you can make the best of what you're dealt: lifting people's sights, firing them up, shaping their behaviour, raising their productivity, bonding them together and unleashing their creativity. If so, you can put aside the metaphors of both poker and chess - focusing solely on becoming a champion leader: someone people want to work with and follow. Finding your leadership PAL is the first step.

About the Author

Increase your leadership action and traction with Vector Leadership Training. Vector Leadership will help you plan appropriate leadership actions and deliver your personal action list. We have been working for more than 40 years with CEOs and executives across the US, Europe, Asia and Australia. For more information, visit Leadership