Leadership is a vast idea. It can mean how an army chief inspires his troops. It can be the skills of a corporate manager to motivate his employees. It also includes the methods used by a political leader to make people follow him.
In this article, I will focus on leadership as your ability to get the best out of people. What are the qualities that you would need to develop, and how to identify and apply the leadership style that can help you get the desired results?
Let’s get started with the meaning of leadership in an organization.
Meaning of leadership:
Experts have described various leadership theories that can give you multiple perspectives. However, if you need to focus on leadership from a business point of view, it needs to be understood from a more practical point of view.
As a business leader, you build a bridge between the present state and the expected future shape of your organization by making the best use of available resources.
For instance, as a leader in the recycling industry, you may have a vision of getting the maximum reuse of resources by refurbishing and repairing them. If you can define a path for the same and inspire people to follow it, you can create a powerful reprocessing company.
Thus, leadership is defining a goal, describing a path to achieve it, and motivating people to follow the path to hit the target. All other definitions of leadership are either just a derivation of these steps or are the characteristics you should possess to follow these steps.
Let’s find out what these characteristics are.
Attributes of leadership:
Once you have a clearly defined vision, you need to possess leadership qualities to put it into practice. You require communication skills, charisma, and creativity to determine a path and convincingly put forth your vision. You then need to empower and motivate employees to follow the path defined and achieve the set target.
For example, Amazon has the vision to be earth’s most customer-centric company; and to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online. To practice this vision, they have defined the Amazon Leadership Principles that all their employees have to follow.
How do you achieve your targets?
By developing leadership skills.
You now know what leadership is and what its attributes are. You are also aware of how you can develop the necessary skills to become a successful leader.
However, remember that in today’s times of uncertainties, you will face challenges. Events like economic slowdowns and rapidly evolving technology will create turmoils.
In such times of crisis,you need to display integrity and resilience to stick to your vision. You need to take charge and lead from the front.
Take a cue from Mahatma Gandhi; he had the vision of a free India and wanted to achieve independence for his countrymen by following the path of non-violence. How did he make sure that every one of his followers was motivated to follow his footprints?
Of course, he had leadership traits, but he also practiced what he preached, i.e., he led by example (lead by example article link). Imagine him getting involved in a physical fight, and you get to the point where he would have had no followers. In the toughest of times, he was integral to his path of non-violence.
How to be an effective leader?
Will all the leaders with leadership qualities be equally successful? Will all of them achieve their targets the same way?
No, certainly not.
You may be a leader who likes to follow a collaborative pattern. Or, you might have employees that need to be governed by a dominating mindset.
What defines these patterns? What are the factors that can help you develop the right strategies to be a successful leader?
It is your leadership style.
There are a set of characteristics defined by the combination of your attitude, your employees’ experience level, and the current state of your organization. These help in identifying the right leadership style you should choose.
Awareness of your leadership style helps understand your current standing as a leader and develop the necessary skills required to achieve your leadership goals.
For instance, if you are ambitious and your organization is growth-focused, adapt transactional leadership style – use micro-management techniques and take stringent follow-ups from subordinates. However, if your organization is going through a change, a merger, an acquisition, or a corporate restructuring, you should consider applying the transformational leadership style.
Unlike transactional or transformational leaders, if your primary aim is to benefit your employees, thereby making sure they work for the betterment of your organization, adapt servant leadership style. On the contrary, if your organization is going through an emergency or crisis, you should choose the autocratic leadership style (link of the article).
My favorite leadership style, however, is the situational leadership style. Not only does this style help you identify the right patterns of leadership as per the situation, but it also enables you to assess your employees and the current standing of your organization.
When I compiled these leadership quotes, I realized that every leader is different and has a unique approach to leadership.
If you were to ask the ten most successful leaders of the world their understanding of leadership, I’m sure you will get ten different answers. Nevertheless, the common thread connecting them is their ability to inspire people and get desired results.
What’s your perception of leadership? Let me know in your comments.