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By Bill Thomas
Thursday, April 24, 2003
Leaders Use Contextual Cues!
By: Bill Thomas
Does the background, setting or demographic terrain of an
organization matter to the leader? Which contextual
features affect leadership roles? How and in what ways can
the situational context influence your leadership styles?
An historical analysis of people in leadership positions
reveals some startling information about the leadership
roles, styles, strategies and behaviors required to help
deal with the myriad effects of a situation, its players
and the organization involved.
In other words, leaders need an acute awareness of the
contextual cues concealed or lurking within every challenge.
Leaders must be able to accurately interpret those cues
and then develop an appropriate approach and a series of
responses for effectively managing the demands of each cue.
Leaders can find cues of many sorts all around them, their
organizations and in the resource groups that they interact
with or supervise. Leaders need to assess the relevance,
urgency and potentials for the contextual entities that
We want to generally describe these cues in terms of their
archetypical or behavioral traits, yet we need to avoid
thinking of them as possessing the structure,
characteristics and attributes of 'silos' - in short, cues
are not rigid, they can be penetrated, they can mix and
blend with or be absorbed by other cues, they can change or
be altered over time and space.
Contextual cues reflect, exhibit the effects, and present
varieties of the results for a given situation or moment of
time, unique properties of the involved groups or
individual people and the motivated mission and purpose.
driving a segment of society or a particular enterprise.
Therefore, contextual qualities are multi-dimensional
factors which serve to support, impede or restrain the
efforts of leaders. In effect, we could conclude that it is
the contextual settings and times which convict, compel and
call-forth the leader to take decisive action.
1) Will leaders have to overcome any formidable
circumstances involving social constraints, systemic
interdependencies or counter-revolutionary forces?
2) Is it possible that we will need to adjust the scope,
tenor or essence of our leadership styles to fit the
dynamics of this critical moment?
3) Should leaders first measure their knowledge of
contextual cues, and then formulate and deliver
value-oriented solutions to operate within them?
The short answer to all three questions is "Yes"! Because
our productivity-driven, knowledge-hungry,
ruthlessly-competitive world needs and must have millions
more innovative, creative, consensus-building, flexible
leaders engaging the challenges facing our organizations,
families and nations.
Copyright © 2003, Mustard Seed Investments, Inc.,
All rights reserved.
About the Author: Bill Thomas is Author of "The
Leadership Toolkit" - a web based training program that
improves your leadership skills, energizes creativity
and transforms you into a persuasive, empowering leader.
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Influence - Get "All the Tools You Need To Lead!"
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Bill Thomas is Managing Principal and Senior Vice-President of Mustard Seed Investments, Inc. He consults with clients in over 75 countries on various business, organizational leadership, creativity and technology issues. He also writes and lectures on new models, skills and resources for knowledge work and the Knowledge Economy.
He can be reached at: Email Bill with the Subject "Ezine_Article"
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