Desert, Leadership, Aboodi Shabi, Goaly Blog

“The only definition of a leader I know is someone who has followers.” – Peter Drucker.

U.K. coaching and leadership guru Aboodi Shabi brings his wisdom to the Goaly blog once again today, giving us some insight into his philosophy of leadership. He challenges us to ask ourselves a question we hardly ever hear in leadership circles.

How Unavailable Are You?

When I work with leaders, I often ask them this question: “How are you unavailable as a leader?” What do I mean by this?

The Drucker quote suggests that it is your capacity to engage with others in such a way that they are willing to follow you that marks you as a leader.

For all of us who work as leaders, or who take on a leadership role in life, that capacity for engagement is an on-going process of learning.

A Way of Being

Leadership is not just about technical ability, or about a skill-set – it is about a way of being. We are talking about the ontology of a leader, if you will – what is it in our being that impacts how others perceive us as a leader. How do we show up, and how does that affect whether or not others are willing to follow us?

“How available are you for relationship?”

So, to come back to that question, I am asking leaders to reflect on those aspects of themselves which get in the way of their being someone people will want to follow.

Of course, this isn’t only applicable to leaders – even if we are not in a formal leadership role, we will need to relate to others and to be seen as someone that others will want to engage with.

Leadership, Aboodi Shabi, Goaly Blog

The question could be made more general: How available are you for relationship? What aspects of yourself get in the way of being someone that others will want to engage with?

Here are a few examples of things which can get in the way of your availability for relationship:

  • You like to always do things your way
  • You need to be liked
  • You are very results-focused
  • You don’t take time to really connect with others
  • You might find it hard to ask for help
  • You’re uncomfortable with not knowing all the answers.

While all of those things might be useful at times, they can also negatively impact your availability for relationship.

Relate More, Engage More

If you want to become more available for relationship, or you want to engage more in life, then one of the first steps will be to identify where and how you are unavailable.

The best way to find this out is to ask others. Sometimes you might not even need to ask – you might simply have to listen to what others have been trying to tell you all along!

Take some time to ask, or listen to, people around you. How do they experience you?

Some of these conversations may not be easy, but try to listen from a mood of openness and willingness to learn rather than trying to defend yourself. If you want to relate more to others then surely it’s worth trying to find out how they experience you

“If you want to relate more to others, then surely it’s worth trying to find out how they experience you.”

Note that this isn’t about you becoming what others want you to become – it’s not an either/or situation, but a chance to reflect further on what it might require for you to be more available in your relationships with others, and to participate more fully in life.

© Aboodi Shabi – 2015
aboodi@aboodishabi.com - www.aboodishabi.com

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Businessman, Leadership Tips, Goaly Blog

Leadership is like a dance…

In it’s simplest form, the concept of leadership includes the person doing the leading and the person doing the following. If there are no followers, there are no leaders.

The dance between leader and follower is at the core of the leadership philosophies of Aboodi Shabi, a transformational coaching expert and founder/co-president of the U.K. International Coaching Federation.

We asked Shabi about leadership and he gave us four principles you can practice to today to become a better leader.

1. Don’t Overemphasize Your Skill

Many leaders invest more time in honing their skills than leading their followers. While technical expertise is an important part of being a good leader, it’s not the only part of being a leader. There’s another level of depth to leadership that goes far beyond your competency in your area of work or business.

“Leadership isn’t just about having technical competency or skills.”

“Leadership isn’t just about having technical competency or skills,” Shabi said. “When we talk about being the kind of leader that will attract followers and keep a team going with them through difficult times, this points to something much deeper.”

2. Be A Clear Communicator

Part of being a strong authority figure is knowing how to communicate in a way that people can understand. Nothing is more confusing for followers than to have a leader who can’t express their ideals, thoughts and expectations clearly.

A leader weak in communication skills is a leader who will be weak in presence.

“Leadership is very much like that. It’s an art that requires the leader to be clear and give clear instructions.”

“I think of it like tango. If the leader isn’t clear or confident about where he’s going then the follower will not follow or she’ll try and second guess where he’s going … and the tango doesn’t happen,” Shabi said. “Leadership is very much like that. It’s an art that requires the leader to be clear and give clear instructions and have some authority so the followers will trust the leader.”

3.Don’t Under-emphasize Your Listening Abilities

One of the great paradoxes of leadership is that the leader must have the ability to lead his or her followers, while at the same time allowing himself or herself to be led by the same follows.

“What makes you a good leader is your capacity to listen to the people you’re leading.”

Part of this process of being led is exercising genuine listening skills.

“What makes you a good leader is your capacity to listen to the people you’re leading so that you don’t over-lead or under-lead,” Shabi said. “In the tango we talk about how the leader needs to be led to some extent by the follower. The same is true for leadership. It’s like a two way dance.”

4. Make the The Tough Decision (But Don’t Be a Tyrant)

Tough decisions are the proving ground for good leaders because not only do difficult decisions require wisdom and foresight, the also require that the leader fights off the desire to be like while at the same time taking into consideration his or her followers.

“The good leader can navigate that difficult dance between being popular and paying attention to the relationships in his or her team.”

“One of the things I notice in leaders is that they either get caught by wanting to please or be liked,” Shabi said. “They also sometimes do the opposite: they don’t care whether they’re liked or not and they become too tough or they focus on getting the decisions done without paying attention to the relationships they have on the team, and that also costs them something.”

It sounds like a delicate task, and it is – this is where the sound leader thrives.

“The good leader can navigate that difficult dance between being popular and paying attention to the relationships in his or her team,” Shabi said, “and at the same time making the difficult, tough decisions and being comfortable with not being liked.”

Want To Learn More About Being a Good Leader?

Aboodi Shabi’s step-by-step “Better Connect as a Leader” Goaly strategy will help you understand how connecting to your followers is an essential quality to a transformational leader.

Click here to start Aboodi’s “Better Connect as a Leader” series! In the meantime, take a look at the introductory video in Aboodi’s strategy.