What is Leadership?
What does leadership mean to you? Every business owner and executive wants to be a good leader, but how can you be a good leader if you don’t know what leadership really is?
Leadership can be hard to define and it means different things to different people.
The word “leadership” brings a variety of images in mind. For example:
– A political leader, pursuing a passionate, personal cause.
– An explorer, cutting a path through the jungle for the rest of his group to follow.
– An executive, developing her company’s strategy to beat the competition.
Academically, leadership is defined as “a process of social influence in which a person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task”.
Yet, Leadership means different things to different people:
“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”
– Dwight D. Eisenhower
“Leaders are people who do the right thing; managers are people who do things right.”
– Professor Warren G. Bennis
An effective leader is a person who does the following:
1. Creates an inspiring vision.
2. Motivates and inspires people to engage with the vision.
3. Effective execution and delivery of the vision.
4. Coaches and builds a team, so that the team is more effective at achieving the vision.
And Leadership brings together the skills needed to do these things. Lets explore all of these in more detail:
Creating an inspiring vision:
Let me share one of my favorite examples.
Google’s vision is to “Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
It is an amazing example of a vision which gives the sense of purpose, clarity, drive, conviction and attraction.
In business, a vision is a realistic, convincing and attractive depiction of where you want to be in the future. Vision provides direction, sets priorities, and provides a marker, so that you can tell that you’ve achieved what you wanted to achieve.
To create a vision, leaders focus on an organization’s strengths, analyze their current situation (market, competition), look at how they can innovate and shape their businesses and their strategies to succeed in future marketplaces.
Once they have developed their visions, leaders must make them compelling and convincing that people can see, feel, understand, and embrace.
Motivating and Inspiring people:
A compelling vision provides the foundation for leadership. But it’s leaders’ ability to motivate and inspire people that helps them deliver that vision.
For example, when you start a new project, you will probably have lots of enthusiasm for it, so it’s often easy to win support for the project at the beginning. However, it can be difficult to find ways to keep your vision inspiring after the initial enthusiasm fades, especially if the team or organization needs to make significant changes in the way that they do things.
Leaders recognize this, and they work hard throughout the project to connect their vision with people’s individual needs, goals, and aspirations.
Leaders can also motivate and influence people through their natural charisma and appeal
Effective execution of the Vision:
This aspect of leadership is related to management. Leaders must ensure that the work needed to deliver the vision is properly managed – either by themselves, or by a dedicated manager or team of managers to whom the leader delegates this responsibility – and they need to ensure that their vision is delivered successfully. A culture of trust is essential for the same.
Leaders need to make sure they manage change Add to My Personal Learning Plan effectively. This helps to ensure that the changes needed to deliver the vision are implemented smoothly and thoroughly, with the support and backing of the people affected.
Coaching and building team of achievers:
Individual and team development are important activities carried out by transformational leaders. To develop a team, leaders must first understand team dynamics. A leader will then ensure that team members have the necessary skills and abilities to do their job and achieve the vision. They do this by giving and receiving feedback regularly and by coaching / training people to improve individual and team performance.
Effective leadership ensures that potential leaders are identified and mentored within team. This creates an environment where organization can continue success in the long term. And that’s a true measure of great leadership in the organization.
In the organizations with culture of effective leadership, leaders set direction and help themselves and others to do the right thing to move forward. To do this they create an inspiring vision, and then motivate and inspire others to reach that vision. They also manage delivery of the vision, either directly or indirectly, and build and coach their teams to make them ever stronger.