All entries for Thursday 21 January 2010
January 21, 2010
From my own experience I know it is really not easy to make people follow you without positional power. I used to be a leader of student organization in university, when people work not for money, no one pays them, but they work on their pure enthusiasm and it is task and really challenge for leader to maintain this enthusiasm and make people work and follow you. You need a set of different skills and one of the important skills, in my opinion and my experience, for the leader is ability to speak, and by doing so influence and inspire people.
Now after having know more about leadership I think if I was in that situation again I could have change my leadership st I would have change this and that, but I will be never again in that particular situation and if I will be in leader position again in some company in the future I need to make sure that I learned from mistakes I have made and use the knowledge I gained from LE and in particular lead not relying on positional power, but the power of leadership.
The important skill which leader should have is ability to be assertive, because sometimes teams could have an influence on the leader and the task of the leader not to bend under the opinion of majority, which could be direct opposite of the opinion of leader. Leader should be a good listener, carefully and with respect take into account all opinions, however if leader strongly believe that is not what he wants, he has to be confident in his opinion and convincing. He needs to show employees why he thinks its right and by doing so influence and make people think in the way he wants. It’s something which deals with the power, but not positional power, a power of influencing and shaping thoughts of other people.
The important thing I learned from coaching session is that leader should not give direct answers to his employees, giving direct answers means that employee become dependent on his leader or manager, it could lead to situation where employees could not solve the problems themselves and come to ask their leader to provide answers. If leaders want their team members be more independent in problem solving leaders need to guide their employees towards right answers rather than give immediate responses to problems. Leader need to lead towards right answers at the same time do it in a way employees feel that they themselves find answer to their problem, when they feel that they find it themselves they will be more willing to cope with this problem. Often psychologists use this method to help their patients and it is true that leader should be indeed a psychologist, should know the people, their thinking, and their feelings. I think it is very important learning point regarding leadership at work as well as daily life. Sometimes when friends ask help to solve different problems, we try to give them advises and our experience, (we should never give employees answers from our own experience, its their problem, not ours), instead we should try to show them a way to find answer, make them think about their problems. It’s really important skill for a leader to be a coach and as Paul said we need to practice it on our peers; parents and I definitely want to learn and develop this skill.
What I learned from today’s exercise is that leader and team are interdependent. Leader needs team. In order to achieve goals leader use the skills and expertise, energy of the members and this synergy of different skills and abilities joined with leadership could produce significant results. At the same time team needs leader, who effectively could organize and direct the team in a right way. The role of leader is to think and see things strategically, that is to say able to see things in a big picture, be attentive to important things and details, which team members likely to miss, keep team focused, not allow them to sway in different directions. Leader should not be necessarily clever than his employees, he need to be able to assess skills of team members and use them in right way.