The triad of work as developed by Gillian Stamp is in our view still one of the simplest ways to explain the essence of leadership in organisations, as it addresses both the work and nature of leadership. At the same time, it allows for enormous depth in conversations with leaders at all levels of work. The simplicity lies in the essential requirements of three key dimensions of the exercise of requisite leadership, namely:
- Tasking Leaders need to ensure that the people working to them are absolutely clear on mutual expectations;
- Trusting Leaders need to ensure that people, once tasked appropriately, have the required resources (including skills and delegated authority) to deliver on the expectations set; and
- Tending Demonstrating that people matter also as people, and not only as “units of production”.
All other things being equal, if people (1) know what is expected of them, (2) are empowered to deliver on the expectations and (3) feel valued and important, it is more than likely that they will be engaged and perform to their ability. How different leaders in an organisation display these behaviours is of course a function of amongst other things individual leadership style. The question from a more strategic leadership perspective is how an organisation creates a context within which different leaders at different levels can display these three behaviours. In our view, the issue is not so much one of “consistency” but one of “congruence”. In other words, given that leaders at different levels will task, trust and tend in different ways depending on personal style, team and interpersonal dynamics and so forth, how do we ensure that this remains congruent to broader organisational philosophy and values?