All 3 entries tagged Leadership

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March 17, 2016

The future of tomorrow is in our hands..

Whilst reading into contemporary theories, I found a common element to be that of understanding the people. Reading further into this, I stumbled upon a very interesting article. This article suggested that mature people are the way they are, with particular focus on their behaviours, as a result of their past experience and childhood. The article discussed that the way a child is brought up, from their education and school-life, to the way they are treated at home and by friends (socially), has a great impact on their futures, and further went on to suggest whether or not they will have the potential to be future leaders. This got me really curious - so does this mean that leaders are leaders because of the way they were brought up? How can this be? Why is this the reason?

Further reading into the article showed me that our childhood is the period during which most leadership values are instilled and embedded into our cultures, making us the individuals we are today. Isn’t this theory supportive of the behavioural theory? That anyone can be taught to be a leader by teaching them the most appropriate response for any given situation? Therefore, as leaders of the current world, should we not embed leadership cultures and practices into the daily routines of our young for a brighter future? We should encourage the use of creative mechanisms that create a safe environment where children are able to think outside the box and innovate, building on their intuition and common sense. Embedding this creativity in their mind will enable them to be open to any situation in the future and consequently help them develop good problem solving abilities. Expose the generation of tomorrow to as much as possible, as their experiences will only help them become more effective leaders in the future.

February 17, 2016

What makes a boss/manager into a leader?

Whilst reading a few case studies and examining transformations within my own family organisations, there were some key elements that now make sense to me.

I watched managers change their views from awarding themselves to awarding (rewarding) all within the teams they managed. They stopped using their positional power and being superior to making the team feel as if the manager was really one of their colleagues. As a result, the team members stopped feeling used, became more engaged and motivated to deliver success; the manager also suggested individual development programmes. Working together as a unit, respect was earned from the team, removing the fear that comes from being inferior. They improved on collaboration, and delegating tasks to individuals resulted in the team feeling empowered and entrusted, giving them a greater sense of purpose.

I believe that this focus on the people, rather than the work itself, has greater potential to deliver success. A boss in positional power would generally be contradicting to this: what makes him/her a leader is their vision for a long term future.

Born to be a leader? Or given the power to lead?

We see many stereotypes that are commonly used to represent leaders. Were they ‘born' to be leaders? Or did they position themselves in a way such that they sat themselves at the top of a hierarchal structure? For me, the most efficient leaders chose to be leaders; leadership is a choice. Leadership occurs when someone decides it is important that they lead: the challenge, then, is making the choice to lead.

So what exactly defines a leader? From first glance, and as advised by my colleagues, I found out that there are infinite definitions and descriptions out there in the literature to suggest what leadership is, and what the characteristics for leaders are. Having used an analysis matrix to understand a few definitions and cipher out key factors, I managed to come out with key characteristics that represent the sort of leader I would follow. These essentially form the virtues that define an effective leader and the key values that I would aim to build into my persona.

For me, the bottom line is that great leaders are the ones who win the support of their followers by earning their trust and respect, not those who exercise leadership from positional power given to them. They achieve success by leading with a vision, remaining true to their beliefs, listening to their conscience and leading by example. They have a ‘never-give-up’ attitude which is reflected in their determination to fight for what they believe in, no matter how tough it gets. They encourage teamwork and collaboration, promote an environment on positivity for their followers with their own strong positive interpersonal influence, bringing out the best in each individual. Listening and observation is vital for a leader to be effective and understand the situation or context to which their skills need to be applied.

To sum up, leaders lead with a vision to ensure everyone following them is motivated towards achieving the same shared goal. They should make every effort to gather information from as many sources as possible and weigh out all possible alternatives to a situation in order to determine the best course of action. Leaders should be passionate to achieve their goals with the highest integrity, whilst maintaining a risk-calculated balance between short-term performance and a longer term sustainable future. I believe that this balance however has to be initiated by higher priority given to short-term performance, especially in the case of new teams, as this will assist the leader in building trust and instilling confidence within his whole team, as well as himself. Earning this trust and respect is priceless, we can’t place a price tag on it, it can’t be acquired from a shop or be demanded. A leader doesn’t cut corners, even when the going gets tough..

And they do this everyday.. They made the choice to do this everyday...

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