John C Maxwell’s 21 Indispensible Qualities of a Leader is a must read for anyone aspiring to make a difference as a leader however leaders today are faced with a business environment that is complex, dynamic, and fast-changing. To keep their organisations on an even keel every manager has two key roles to fulfill, no matter what kind of business it is, or in what industry, or how large or how small.
The first role is to make things happen through the traditional duties every manager / director is responsible for: planning, organizing, and controlling. The second role of managers and directors, however, is where the rubber really meets the road -- they must also be effective leaders.
“Words are all we have” Samuel Beckett said, and in this age of social media, 24 hour news coverage being able to communicate has never been more important to the leader. Good leaders must master the art of communication, communicating openly, freely and often. Great leaders energise their team, their organisation, the nation, whether setting a visible example or providing the vision and direction needed.
What makes the difference in communicating in a lot of business leadership is allowing communication to become that genuine two way dialogue. The impact on clarity of expectations, opportunity to do the best every day, recognition and personal development will be marked.
For an ambitious business owner and leader on the go, it can be challenging to grow your company while attempting to discern and prioritize all of the tasks that are thrown your way each day. However, every leader eventually has a moment when the lack of clear and defined boundaries creates major conflicts both personally and professionally.
Lao Tzu said “He who conquers others is strong. He who conquers himself is mighty” and as leader this is more vital than ever if you are to be effective. I used to be guilty of accepting every call, responding to every email, and attending every networking event. After months of saying yes to everything, I realised that I was not taking care of myself. The feelings of fatigue and exhaustion began to take a toll on me, and it was a clear sign of a need for change.
As a leader, especially in a start-up, it is vital we value our time and the investment of others (whether family, mentors or shareholders) who have invested in you as an individual or the organisation properly. The financial barrier is also honouring your time boundaries.
In the July / August 2018 the lead thought was looking at artificial intelligence asking the question is this the end of leadership as we know it? The article was clear on the opportunity AI brings to leadership, however while it may be reliable does it replace the trust that can be built by a leader. “The supreme quality in leadership is unquestionable integrity, without it is not real success” was a true statement by Dwight D Eisenhower. Bringing character to a relationship is vital, it is a choice a leader makes and with it comes lasting success for organisations colleagues and individuals.
As we move further into the disruptive outcomes of IR4.0 and our colleagues and team members expectations from work change making a difference through leadership is going to be critical to our organisation / business success. The words of Ken Blanchard have never been more true, “the key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” So what shadow do you cast as a leader?
*In 1969 Laurence Peter, a professor of education, and Raymond Hull, a playwright, published a management book that became a bestseller and an enduring classic: The Peter Principle. In summary it states “every employee tends to rise to his level of imcompetence” – it is a parody of management and management books.