By Guest Contributor Paula Leach
Author of Vantage Points, Paula Leach, explains what the key five Vantage Points are and how to use them to create a culture where employees can thrive.
I believe that all leaders can simplify the often complex role that they have. Firstly, by focusing on the key point of leadership which is to coordinate resources and people to support the moment of something from A to B. And secondly, by distilling their job into two main aspects:
1) Creating clarity
2) Getting out of the way and creating space for others.
THE FIVE VANTAGE POINTS
Every leader focusing on these two jobs, has the ability to gain reflection and information from their unique vantage points. These are the perspectives that the leader has access to due to their position in the organisation. This might be the meetings that they attend, or the space that they can create to visit and view the work being carried out. I suggest that there are five different vantage points that a leader may leverage to inform and support their endeavour:
1. IN AMONGST – experiencing the actual doing / delivery of tasks with the team.
2. TO THE SIDE AND AROUND – observing alongside those doing / delivering tasks.
3. FROM HIGH ABOVE – looking at those doing / delivering tasks as an overview holistically.
4. FROM HIGH AND BEYOND – Paying attention to the wider system be that competitors, adjacent departments, industry information and research.
5. INSIDE – Reflection time considering their own experience and instinct.
Much of the work of any leader is observational and information gathering in order to support decision making and direction setting. Therefore, my suggestion is that the leader’s approach to time management is all about being aware of where you are spending your time.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF AS A LEADER
Do you have a preference for one particular vantage point? Could you spend more time Inside in personal reflection for example, or In amongst really experiencing the work? Is your agenda dominated by meetings with peers in which case you predominantly are working from high above with little time to broaden your exposure? Intentionally using these vantage points to broaden your perspective and awareness builds the richness of your contributions as a leader and makes creating clarity and getting out of the way easier.
For many leaders, there may be a preference for one or some of these vantage points and being aware of all five enables leaders to identify if they have such a preference and to aim to balance the time, they are spending gaining perspective from each to help them create clarity and get out of the way to create space for others.
THE ADVANTAGES OF UTILISING THE FIVE VANTAGE POINTS
If a leader is able to simplify their approach to their job by understanding that they either are creating clarity or they are getting out of the way, then the vantage points offer a way of approaching the day-to-day perspective they may wish to adopt. I think of this like a leader physically moving between different places in order to view the same things from different angles thus deepening their appreciation and understanding of it and also enabling them to see the impact of decisions and direction from those different angles.
Being aware of vantage points in this way has one other advantage as well and this is to create intentional collaboration with others. Some vantage points a leader may have e.g. In amongst are shared. What the leader sees and experiences, so does everyone else. However, there are other vantage points e.g. from high above that uniquely only the leader sees. Being aware of this enable the leader to consciously invite others to share in this perspective and therefore deepen shared understanding and the ability to understand each other and bring new ideas and perspectives together.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
PAULA LEACH has developed a lifelong interest in the way people work, individually and collaboratively in organisations, to the best of their potential. In particular, Paula believes in the value of positive, human-centred, intentional leadership as the key enabler for individuals and teams to thrive. Over 25 years, Paula has built her experience across global multinational, large public sector and entrepreneurial growth organisations, holding the positions of Chief People Officer at the Home Office and Global Chief People Officer at FDM Group. She holds an MBA from Henley Business School and is a Fellow of the CIPD. Paula now runs her business, Vantage Points Consulting, specialising in her passion for unlocking the potential in people and organisations through coaching and business consulting. She is launching the Vantage Points Foundation in Autumn 2021 to support and mentor young women launching their dream careers.
Everyone who holds a position of leadership regardless of their experience or scale, has five key Vantage Points from which they can build positive momentum and high performance. This book introduces these Vantage Points and provides highly practical examples of how leaders can use these in their daily approach to leading teams of brilliant people.
Vantage Points, invites leaders everywhere to consciously broaden their awareness via the exploration of the key Vantage Points. With this heightened awareness, great leaders can learn to focus their attention on their two primary jobs: creating clarity and space for individuals and teams to thrive. Vantage Points is a resource designed to support leaders in becoming more intentional in their actions and human centred interventions to enable and celebrate the shared collective endeavour of their team