There is no single definition of leadership. There are people who are the right person at the right time. They have the skills, personality, and temperament that an organization requires at the exact time that it needs that style of leadership. Then things change. The leader may be have a flexible style and can adapt to the changing needs of the organization. However, the skills needed in a crisis are not the same skills needed during a maintenance phase. Fast growth brings challenges that are very different from stagnant or declining revenue. So it would appear that leadership is actually transactional.
However, there seems to be a general consensus that a leader is someone who can commit people to action, convert followers into leaders, and convert leaders into agents of change
Effective Leadership, no matter the situation, involves the following strategies:
Communication – The ability to relate a compelling image of the desired state of affairs; inducing enthusiasm and commitment in others.
Empowering Others – The ability to entrust others to translate intentions into reality; pulling rather than pushing people – with enthusiasm and energy being the by-products. People are motivated by identification rather than reward or punishment.
Conveying Vision – The ability to turn their vision of the organization into a realistic, credible, attractive future; allowing people to feel pride and satisfaction.
While there are people who assume that leadership and management are synonymous, the terms are not really interchangeable. Management is the formal authority people are given within an organization. Leadership is informal, and doesn’t require an organization provide its authority.
It is said that Managers do things right; Leaders do the right thing. It is the often the difference between strategy and execution.
- Create values through communication.
- Develop committed followers.
- Inspire lofty accomplishments.
- Model appropriate behavior.
- Focus attention on important issues.
- Connect their group to the outside world.
What follows is a useful checklist to determine if you are acting like a true Leader. If you answer ‘yes’ to the questions below, then you should be able to identify the observable behaviors that others can spot to confirm that you are behaving like a true Leader.
Because it’s one thing to think you are a Leader but it’s another thing to be seen as one. What you think and what people observe can often be quite different.
At the end of each question – ask yourself “How do I know? What are people observing?”
• Do the people I lead know where we are going and how we are going to get there together?
• Do I carefully consider my employees’ input in establishing plan, resolving problems, and improving operations?
• Am I accessible to my people?
• Can my people predict how I will react to different situations?
• Do I share my optimism about our success with my staff?
• Do my people enjoy coming to work? Do we have fun?
• Do I promote my people to greater responsibilities in my group and elsewhere in the company?
• Are my people encouraged or discouraged by my success?
• Is working with my people the most important part of my day?
• Do my people know how they are doing, what we can expect of them, and what they can expect with us over the next few years?