Context Matters

Context-Leadership

Gonzalo Deniz on Flickr

Context = the group of conditions that exist where and when something happens. 

Every leader stewards their influence within a particular set of conditions.

Every leader exists within a particular set of conditions that help to determine the degree to which they are able to maximize their influence. 

The prerequisite for determining a proper leadership context is self-awareness. A leader must understand who they are and what they bring to the equation in terms of strengths, personality, and emotional intelligence. If they have a healthy sense of these factors they will be in a position to assess a favorable set of leadership conditions.

There are at least three levels of context which every leader should consider: organizational, role, and direct report.

Organizational

Organizational context is primarily about the mission. Are you in alignment with what the organization is determined to do? Does the purpose of the organization elicit sufficient passion within you to give your best leadership effort? Can you still lead when the organization makes decisions that run contrary to some of your preferred beliefs or operating style? These are some of the conditions that matter in deciding if your current organization is the right context for you.

Role

Role context is primarily about your unique leadership contribution. Does the organization provide sufficient direction, resources, and support for you to make a significant contribution towards the mission? Does your role match your primary strengths? Do you have a role platform that allows you to make a unique contribution to the mission? Does your leadership role position you to empower emerging leaders to multiply the impact of mission? These are some of the conditions that matter in deciding if your current role is the right context for you.

Direct Reporting Relationship

Direct reporting context is primarily about your freedom of leadership expression. Does your boss allow you to lead according to who you are? Does he or she provide sufficient feedback and developmental support to help you lead better? Does your boss keep your properly accountable to the desired results of the organization? Do you have proper decision-making authority and empowering resources that promote your leadership platform? These are some of the conditions that matter in deciding if your current reporting relationship is the right context for you.

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