August 05, 2019
Leadership & Management
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A strength-based leadership philosophy approach provides clarity and a path forward to execute institutional strategic objectives, implement operational processes and support the overall fiscal foundation for the organization. Engaged leaders choose their leadership style with an analysis of the matters at hand, the end goal and the best management style for the job. Often, both leadership and management styles are contingent upon the goals, resources, challenges, market conditions and greater community socio-economic forces affecting the organization.
However, as management styles change from time to time, engaged leaders within the organization provide the “long view” vision which, in turn, reflects the cultural ethos, institutional values and strategic goals of the organization. More importantly, it is about “the system” and not the individual division, service line or business entity. Leaders understand the importance of network integrity and are able to translate this importance to their direct reports and matrix reports.
The knowledge, awareness, and understanding that relationships are key is paramount within any organization. In particular, it is important that the role of executive leadership is to understand both direct and matrix reporting relationships. In my role, I take a strong visible approach within my leadership style. Through being visible, I am able to build and sustain strong reporting relationships as well as promote an environment of collaboration amongst my direct and matrix reporting relationships.
Moreover, not only is visibility important but being accessible to my direct and matrix reports. Quality relationships emerge when others know that their leader is accessible and available. In particular, I take a very proactive approach in ensuring that my direct reports are aware that I am accessible and ready to support them and their departments. Providing key touchpoints with my matrix reports results in a natural behavior of maintaining a pulse between divisions and departments. What I have found in my experience is that both accessibility and visibility go a long way in building trust among direct and matrix reporting relationships.
Organizations are complex environments, framed by processes and networks with a mission at its center. An engaged leader is both visible and accessible as well as a resource for others. Leaders do not necessarily know the answers every time, nor should they be expected to have all the answers. However, it is important to be able to provide resources and navigation on how best to approach the challenge or meet the goal.
Lastly, taking the long view is an approach to building trust amongst both my matrix and direct reports. I have noticed that when I am able to communicate the long view message, my direct reports maintain a strong buy-in, and my matrix reports have the trust that I will support them and their departments.
Leadership and management are both a science and an art form. Engagement and network integrity grow and are strengthened when leaders and managers understand that it is about the system and not about one individual or service line. Ultimately, it is about possessing an optimistic optic, providing grace, being transparent and cultivating trusting relationships with both my direct and matrix reports.
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