The 4 A’s of Leadership: What Does It Feel Like to Lead?

By Walt Brown

“The moment an individual sees their leader as being off base with any of the 4 A’s they will stop following, stop contributing that extra energy.”

The problem is that many folks who think they are leaders do not understand leading is something that is done to you, not something you do to others.

What you will feel when leading is that you are actually being lead, guided along by your people. It will feel like a giant game of leapfrog, everyone taking turns at the front, building the next platform that the team uses to take the next leap. If you ever feel this, then you are leading.

Leaders are only leaders when people choose to let someone lead them. Importantly, if it does not feel like what is described in the paragraph above, well, then you are managing. EVERYTHING else is Management. Management is about telling and directing, guiding and doing. You can really feel this; management is heavy, leadership is light. It sounds frou-frou but you will know it when you feel it.

The 4 A’s leadership platform

In order for people to follow, we have to do something for them every year, quarter, month, week, day, hour, minute… you get the point. We as leaders must constantly be Aligned, Accountable, Authentic, and Aware. Further, we must demonstrate and help our teams hold the line when it comes to being Aligned, Accountable, Authentic, and Aware.

The moment an individual sees their leader as being off base with any of the 4 A’s, they will stop following, stop contributing that extra energy.

Think about a leader of yours doing the following:

  • You see them doing something that is not aligned with what you understand is the greater good or the direction of the organization. You pause, see they are not Aligned, and you stop following.
  • You see them not doing what they say they are going to do, or dodging responsibility or accountability. You see they are not Accountable and you stop following.
  • You see them as not being truthful, pretending, making stuff up, not being fair. You see they are not Authentic and you stop following.
  • You see them looking at something in completely the wrong way, you see them making up their own reality. They are not Aware and you stop following.

Once one of the 4 A’s is violated, the opportunity to create and maintain leadership is replaced by Management and it becomes a Conga line with ME, ME, ME at the front instead of a fast-moving leapfrog game.

Something you can do today

Well, of course, I am going to anchor this in the 7 Promises: Belong, Believe, Accountable, Measured, Heard, Developed and Balanced. Take time to define what each of these promises looks like to your company and make sure your Organizational Operating System echoes this. Then, your 7 Promises will become your 4 A’s Leadership platform. Do what it takes to answer the 7 Questions and install an Organizational Operating System that allows each individual to align with and maintain a “yes” to the 7 Questions and you will create an environment where the 4 A’s come alive. The chart below (fig. 1) is what a thorough assessment of the 7 Promises within an organization looks like:

fig. 1

The EOS/Traction Tools and the 4 A’s of Leadership.  This is how the tools form a backbone for the 4A’s of Leadership (fig.2):

fig. 2

 

 

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