What does leadership mean to you?
When you think back to the best coaches or leaders in your life — across any aspect: work, sport, music, home — what did they *do* that helped you?
What is your purpose as a leader or coach?
What actions do you take that help the people in your life?
I ask these questions often in workshops and coaching programs to ground theory in real experiences and a connection to the heart (purpose).
Leading with intention is how we connect with purpose and align our actions.
Intentional Leadership Practices to Learn to Lead and Lead to Learn
In the video and article below, I read an excerpt from the bestselling book Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn: Lessons from Toyota Leader Isao Yoshino on a Lifetime of Continuous Learning, highlighting the key actions leaders take to create a people-centered learning organization.
The core of intentional leadership: Leading to Learn
In the years talking with Isao Yoshino in preparation to write Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn — as well as my own experiences as a learner, leader, and coach and asking this question to thousands of people around the world –it became clear that there are consistent themes that great leaders and coaches do.
Ultimately they can all fit into the three components of what I call the “Leading to Learn Framework”.
- Set Direction – provide a challenge and clarity of direction, pushing us into things we didn’t think were possible and aligning our energy towards a specific destination
- Provide Support – care, encourage, teach, ask questions, provide feedback, demonstrate, and create structures that allow us to learn our way towards capability, confidence, and achievement.
- Develop Themselves – have the humility and self-awareness know that they too must constantly improve to be a better leaders, coach, and person.
This is the “chain of learning” that we have together — we are all learners and leaders — at different times, and in different ways. And together we learn from and with each other to create a better world.
What are the practices of people-centered leaders?
Below is a lightly edited transcript of the video above.
I’m here today to talk with you about the fundamental practices of leadership that fall into what I call the Leading to Learn Framework.
A leader’s role is to:
- set the direction,
- provide support, and
- develop themselves.
I discovered this when I first met Mr. Yoshino and heard him speak, and he was talking about his role as a manager and a leader. He made a statement that to me boiled down to those three essential points.
Today I wanted to share with you some of the summary points that are in the conclusion of the book and for you to reflect as well about what they mean for you — and what might you add as well.
The Leading to Learn Framework
In short, the role of a leader is to:
1 – Set the direction: Issue a clear challenge goal or target to your people.
2 – Provide support: Help your people develop themselves as learners and leaders, and create systems that enable their success.
3 – Develop yourself: Constantly improve yourself as a leader and a learner.
Reading from the book: Intention Leadership Practices
The summary actions that I put together at the conclusion of the book encompasses the leadership lessons that are within the book.
And I’d love to hear what else you would add as well.
Noe: this quote can be found on pages 289-290 in the Conclusion of Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn.
Looking back, we can see the pattern: the themes fo people-centered leadership
Yoshino’s experiences highlight the importance of so many leadership principles that embody the Toyota Way themes of what it means to be a people-centered leader, who develops people, of continuous learning and of reflection.
- Know or discover your purpose.
- Set a direction and clear goals.
- Be persistent.
- Always seek to learn and remain curious, and encourage others to do the same.
- View things from many angles or perspectives.
- Make the invisible visible.
- Find the good in people and in situations.
- Pursue excellence, yet embrace imperfection.
- Create the conditions for people to learn and be successful.
- Be patient. It takes time to develop people in accomplish challenges.
- Make the extra effort. Go beyond your job description to help others
- Go see, go to gemba, to learn and to show that you care.
- Create culture change by developing people one person at a time.
- Focus on the process, not just the outcome.
- Ask questions, listen openly, adjust your style, be flexible.
- Delegate authority, trust your people and provide help when needed.
- Share and ask for bad news first and speak up, even if it’s difficult.
- Recognize that failure is the ultimate source of learning
- Never forget that, learning comes from reflection.
- Start with yourself.
So these are some of the core practices and principles that I have learned through working with Mr. Yoshino in creating this book.
I would love to hear from you about what else you have learned from the lessons of the stories within.
And of course, you can pick up the book in paperback, in ebook, and coming in July of 2021 in audiobook as well.
May you continue to learn to lead and lead to learn and live a life filled with intention and purpose.
Be inspired to become the best leader you know you can be!
Dive into Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn
Now available in print, ebook or audio!
If you haven’t yet had a chance to read the book and explore Mr. Yoshino’s 40 years of leadership at Toyota, you can now purchase it in paperback, ebook, and now audiobook (releases July 14, 2021).
The audiobook is read by me and selections by John Shook and Isao Yoshino!
Click here to learn more and for links to purchase the book in your region.
Explore your own leadership purpose in the Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn Workbook
What are the actions that you will take to be the best leader you can be? What is your leadership purpose and credo? What is your top priority to achieve — and how will you help your team achieve it?
To supplement your learning from the book, I’ve also created the Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn Workbook to help you deepen your understanding and practice of the concepts highlighted in the book.
This 100-page electronically downloadable workbook provides additional exercises and questions to prompt your deeper thinking on your own leadership legacy.
Click here to invest in your leadership development.