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Playing to your strengths? Itís your move.

There are many variables in leadership style that could contribute to making a great leader but what gives certain people the edge on performance? 

There isn’t one definitive quality that answers this question, however the importance of understanding yourself as well as your peers and your team, certainly is an over-riding factor.  A great leader must be able to capitalise on their own unique strengths as well as those of their peers and team and work collaboratively to manage risk, drive innovation and accelerate change.

Similar to a game of chess, you can only play well if you understand the merits of each piece, as well as the strengths that define each of their roles; and the game won’t be won unless the winning strategy is carefully thought out.  To be proactive it is vital to always think a couple of moves ahead.

The King, like any great leader, is important and adaptable but to maintain resilience and a leading position is heavily reliant upon the other pieces.   Without the rest of his team and their unique qualities, he can’t make progress and his strengths are weakened.  Without carefully planning which move to make next, the King could soon become one of the weakest members of the team.  So whilst it is important to be accountable and proactive in their approach, a great leader will also recognise the strength that the right team and network of peers will bring to achieving the end goal.

So to focus on the team, the Queen, Bishop, Knight and Pawn all have their own unique qualities, but despite their uniqueness, they need to work collaboratively to succeed.  The Queen is a powerful team member and can move in any one straight direction.  The Bishops however, work well together and unlike the queen, successfully collaborate to cover up, or shall we say support each other’s weaknesses, or even better, to enhance their strengths.

The Knight’s unique quality lies in the ability to move over other pieces.  To have the strength, strategic approach and fighting spirit, to press forward, but if it wasn’t for the strategically motivated movements of the rest of the team members, the Knight would not be able to achieve.

And then there is the Pawn, the only piece with the special ability to achieve promotion.  A leader in the making?  Not necessarily.  Without the network and peers that surround them, without the ability to engage with the unique qualities of their team, the overall objectives won’t be reached and any strategy that was being followed would collapse. 

To remain competitive and accelerate positive change, a great leader needs to be able to influence the performance of their team, their peers and most of all themselves.  The ability to constantly assess, change and develop strategies is a really important attribute for a leader, as well as taking the time to understand the value of individuals and recognise how their uniqueness can be utilised to create a winning formula.

So with this in mind, it is surprising that leadership development provisions often fail to focus on the development of self, team, network and business. There is often no acknowledgement of how these influence each other and how these four areas integrate to epitomise management performance.  This leaves an alarming gap in management development and as a result, many businesses fail to not only reach the potential of their employees on every level but also find themselves ill equipped to reach their objectives.  This void can be filled with the Advance Programme. 

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