Ask Beth: Competently Courageous Leadership

Q: How can I develop leadership skills when so much of my work is dependent on others?

A: Think of yourself as a change agent, first and foremost. Motivating people towards Sustainable Governance takes persuasion, empathy and a keen ability to unite people towards a common purpose. For particular members in your organization, this version of compliance represents a significant paradigm shift, one which they may struggle with. In my book Triple Bottom-Line Compliance, I define exceptional compliance officers as “business leaders, strategists and project managers; they are influencers that can get things done.” For introverted personalities whose core competencies rest on data and systems comprehension, this mandate may seem daunting at first. Harvard Business Review; November-December 2018, Cultivating Everyday Courage, James A. Detert, pp 128-135

Luckily, leaders are born and made all the time. In my newest podcast, I discussed this topic with Chuck Garcia, Associate Professor of Organizational Leadership at Columbia University. Chuck routinely speaks to many people who rise to their position from their technical skillset, and need to develop their own leadership abilities. In particular, he emphasizes the importance of good storytelling, over a rote recital of the statistics. “Look at what we do with our personal time. We watch Netflix and Amazon and we go to the movies… yet somehow we think in the executive world that we’re exempt from it.” And above all, he insists, don’t be afraid to fail. “Many of the introverts are able to confront that fear and do so much better than they even thought they were capable of,” Garcia reports

Take the opportunity now with the release of your annual report to put these tactics to use. Don’t be afraid to seek out consultation to improve your communications and business skills – as Garcia told me, all of us have unique lessons to learn in this regard. We compliance officers must embrace the same sort of risk our c-level executives must assume in order to grow their businesses. By doing so, you can begin to grow as a leader and deliver a better ROI on compliance efforts.

Three takeaways from this podcast

  • Facts alone are not persuasive. Add context to add value.
  • Learn the value of storytelling. Show you understand your audience and your content.
  • Don’t be afraid to fail. Seek out help as you need it and take measured risks.

Beth Haddock is author of Triple Bottom-Line Compliance – How to Deliver Protection, Productivity and Impact, and advocates delivering sustainable compliance that increases brand protection, risk mitigation, productivity, and employee engagement.

To receive a concise snapshot of how your current compliance program is serving you, take Beth’s complimentary assessment.

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