Born to be a leader: Have you got it in you?
When you take up a leadership role, you will be expected to tackle multiple tasks—from meeting goals through developing new business opportunities—while making sure that your team follows you and your organization’s vision and values. If you thrive on thinking creatively, inspiring and guiding people, experimenting with different approaches, and making intuitive decisions, you are on the way to being a leader. However, truly accomplished leaders also possess sound analytical and problem-solving skills to stay with us because we want to talk about this important role in Maadico.
What is leadership?
Leaders are made rather than born. And while a real desire to lead is a prerequisite for leadership, the key skills you need to lead can be learned. Leadership has many facets and no simple deﬁnition: it is the ability to inspire and encourage others to overcome challenges, accept continuous change, and achieve goals; it is the capacity to build strong, effective teams; and it is the process of using your inﬂuence to persuade and steer. Leaders set a strong example through their own life principles; they achieve results but also take responsibility for failure. A life principle may be a rule, belief, or moral code that is important to you and guides your decision-making throughout life.
How can I be a good leader?
|Learning quickly what motivates team members||Thinking yesterday’s result will still count tomorrow|
|Asking your team for their view on the situation||Being out of touch with your own emotions|
|Thinking beyond what happens in the short term||Not noticing what is going on around you|
|Knowing how to train and develop your team||Not asking for feedback on your leadership and ideas|
|Setting standards to build a team you can rely on||Not keeping physically ﬁt and thinking positively|
What is a difference between leading and managing?
Leadership is a substantially different role from management. A leader is someone who makes decisions and communicates bold messages, while a manager implements strategies, measures performance, and runs systems. You probably aspire to be called a leader rather than a manager. Being a leader is exciting; being a manager is mundane. Of course, like most stereotypes, the statements above contain a measure of truth, but sound management requires some leadership, and great leaders are or at least know what it takes to be good managers. When you move into a leadership role you won’t and can’t abandon managing altogether; to be credible as a leader, you need to acknowledge the past and what is currently happening, at the same time as focusing on the future. Visit HBR for more info.
Leading from within
The job of a leader is to give others a sense of purpose and self-worth. This is impossible to do with any conviction if you don’t understand your own strengths and weaknesses, or if you are uncertain about the direction in which you want to take your professional and personal life. Improving self-awareness is an essential part of growing into a more effective leader and becoming alert to the effects you are having on others.
People don’t think in the same way. Understanding your own thinking style and the styles of others around you will give you some valuable leadership tools. The term “thinking style” does not refer to your IQ, but how you process information; broadly we can distinguish between three styles: tactical, operational, and strategic. Most people tend to get stuck using just one of the thinking styles. But by recognizing your own thinking style you begin to ask different questions and think about problems in fresh and exciting new ways. By doing this you work more effectively with your team because you can understand how they think and communicate, and you can talk to people in their own language.
Psychologist Daniel Goleman made the concept of Emotional Intelligence well known. He developed the idea of the importance of emotions in management to identify six leadership styles. Many people use several styles at different times. The authoritative style had the most positive impact on organizations.
|Demands that people comply||Leads with a clear vision||Creates harmony, builds bonds||consensus through participation||Sets high performance standard||Develops skills in other people|
|Drive to achieve, self-control||elf-conﬁdence, empathy||Empathy, good relationships, and communication skills||Collaboration, team spirit, and communication skill||Drive to achieve, conscientiousness||Developing others, empathy, self-awareness|
|key phrase: Do what I tell you||key phrase: Come with me||key phrase: People come ﬁrs||Key phrase: “What do you think?||Key phrase: Do as I do||Key phrase: Try this|
|Negative impact||Most positive impact||Positive impact||Positive impact||Negative impact||Positive impact|
To be effective, you need to lead from the inside out. What you really think, and what you value as your life principles, should emerge clearly in your behavior. To think as a leader, you should look to your self-awareness as well as to your awareness of the outside world. Leading from within and being true to your own principles brings results. When you embrace the values by which you live and apply them to your role as a leader, people will respect your sincerity, acknowledge the stake you have in your work and in your team, and the sense that you wish others to succeed. Self-awareness means analyzing your thoughts and emotions, seeking as much feedback from others as possible, and developing listening skills.
The beneﬁts of self-knowledge in the workplace may not be immediately apparent when set alongside other, more practical and cognitive skills, but its value has been acknowledged by psychologists for decades. The term Emotional Intelligence (EI) was coined to describe an ability to identify, discriminate between, and use one’s own and others’ feelings to guide your thoughts and actions. The importance of EI cannot be overstated there are many studies that indicate that EI is a far better indicator of leadership potential than standard measures of intelligence such as IQ. The emotions that leaders experience affect the culture of an organization, shaping productivity, employee satisfaction, and loyalty, and so having a real inﬂuence on results.
Being a frontrunner
People respect leaders who embrace strong values and take responsibility for their own choices in life. To demonstrate this internal strength you need to be seen to be leading by Example. Show your team that you have the conﬁdence to take risks, that you can persist through difﬁcult times, and that you are prepared to keep on learning, adapting, and creating new business opportunities.
Commit to Change
Seek out an experienced coach to guide you in building EI. The transformation will entail changing your attitudes and habits, as well as learning new skills, and requires a real commitment—in time and resources—from you and from your organization.
To be a good leader, stay close to your team, and use your judgment to move between leadership and management roles as necessary.
In maadico we have some professional consultants who will help you to build yourself to be a great leader. If you have any questions and need any help do not hesitate to reach us. We are closeby!
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