In its simplest terms, leadership is the process of influencing the behavior of another person while fully respecting the freedom of that person (Encarta). Two aspects of this definition are important. First, a significant part of effective leadership is the close connection between the leader and the follower, which often determines the success of the leader's mission. Unfortunately, this leader-follower relationship cannot be created according to some simple formula. Without inspiration, involvement, and encouragement from both participants, the relationship can not be effective.
Leaders, in particular, must give an extra effort to reach out to followers in order to initiate and develop this alliance that is so critical to the achievement of goals. The leaders face special challenges as they try to communicate and interact with their followers and potential followers to understand and know what they think and what they do. Developing their leadership style in response to diversity, and ethics will give them an edge as they build relationships with their sub ordinators. Secondly, leaders who begin to use force, coercion, and manipulation must later use more force, coercion, and manipulation precisely because their ability to influence - truly lead - is diminished. In my company I have never seen our lead to use any force to associates for achieving goals, because he'd like to be a true leader for a long time. I believe that there are times in the life of a team or organization when the formula leader appropriately exercises the authority of his or her position or deal with organizational issues.
Leaders should know that creativity and innovation are the life blood of their organization. New ideas can lead to programs that are already going on or planned in the organization. So, the mission of every leader should be to search continually for ideas and programs that are superior to the organization is currently committed to. In a word, it's called progress. Leaders respect the dignity and worth of each follower.
There are two behaviors which are keys to this. First, the director of our company has done everything possible to reduce status differentials in team, which had been based on socioeconomic factors and job titles. Secondly, he has made clear by his behavior that he valued and respected all followers, especially those who were less powerful, less healthy, less educated, younger, older, poorer, less skillful in communication, and different in race, language, religion, gender or sexual orientation from the majority. No leader can be successful in influencing the behavior other people unless those followers trust the leader.
The cornerstone of that trust is the confirmed belief that the leader values each follower and is guided by what is fair to all. As every human being, the leaders can be learners. This statement is from my life experience but not as a lead. I learn from success, but I especially learn from my failures and mistakes to which I freely admit. Thus, if I am a lead, this statement will apply in my leading.
Sometime I asked myself, 'If I am leading the company, how can I supervise to make sure that those whom I am managing think of their present job as one of their best?' Here are some ideas how can I cope with it: explain the importance of a particular job and show how the job fits into the overall goal; establish job performance standards and add here to them; train fully each individual; provide the tools needed to do the job in an efficient, safe way; monitor job performance, quickly and objectively pointing where standards have not been met, identify causes and agree on ways to correct them; recognize and acknowledge when the job goes right; encourage growth and advancement; provide a look into their future and that of your business or agency; promote feedback, develop an atmosphere where people can voice new ideas, publicly recognize superior performance and loyalty. Empowerment can also require a significant attitude adjustment on the part of me as a manager. A self review may be needed from time-to-time to reconcile the needs of my superegos versus the goals of our business plan. If results are, what I'm seeking, empowering each and every employee to the maximum extent possible- is the best way to go.
With empowering, my team does its best. Often in our lives we are influenced by certain individuals who possess the unique ability to motivate - to give us a sense of purpose and ownership. These individuals may be coaches, teachers, supervisors, neighbors, spouses, friends and maybe even enemies. The ability to motivate is an essential tool for all leaders to have in their toolbox. It is not always easy to motivate others, especially if they do not enjoy their job or position, or if I do not enjoy my job. However, a good leader with a positive attitude and a vision can motivate anyone.
The motivation process is the most important process in the organization, because only motivated people can do their best in achieving goals and do their job with the high outcome. The leaders need to have ability to communicate. Effective communication is difficult. Speaking and writing are certainly important, but perhaps a more important element of communication is the ability to listen...
to truly listen. The leaders' willingness to take risk. If a leader is afraid to take new steps or explore new territory, then opportunities for improvement and advancement are lost, and many from the team begin to think that he / she is not a real leader. Another way of looking at taking risks is being creative. The creative leader will come up with new progress in his / her leadership style.
The leaders need to have ability to delegate. How many times in my life I have avoided delegating a certain project or task for fear that it may be completed incorrectly. Often times I take the attitude that it is easier to do something by myself if I want it done right. If I am a leader, I must give others the opportunity to learn, to think and develop initiative. Delegating also enables me to sharpen other leadership tools such as communication and personal investment. Delegating may also mean giving others the opportunity to make mistakes - another sure way to learn.
The responsibility of the leaders is very important key. One of the ways to evaluate the leadership skills of the leader is to put him / her in the shoes of the subordinate. It's true the leaders will always be subordinate to someone and their performance will constantly be evaluated. Once I have participated in the director's meeting and he has said: "We all need to be responsible in our actions and words, not only as leaders but also as subordinates." Because only responsibility gave us such attitudes to action that we have to thing before we start to do or tell something. The personal investment is also important.
The very personal thing is when I feel about me as a leader. I think, being a good leader means different things to different people at different times. Equally important is recognition of the fact that a personal investment of time, effort and caring cannot be faked or substituted; it's absence renders the leader one in name but not in substance, able to effect compliance only with threats of punishment or perhaps promises of continuous reward. Investing my personal assets of time, effort and caring will pay back big dividends to me, to those I work with and to the mission at hand. The sense of humor is one of the qualities that the leaders need to have.
Someone may question, why I have chosen to list this quality as the final trait in the leadership style. A leader, to be successful, must be able to get beyond adversity and to relax subordinates when tensions are high, when edges are rough, or when the situation is going downhill. Humor is a great relaxes. Our leader views a sense of humor, not frivolous or superfluous comments, he uses in a timely manner, as a means of stabilizing a situation which could make the difference between success and failure. In my conclusion, the effective leaders today can be characterized as pragmatic idealists. They must have a clear sense of values about the importance of all individuals and have the skills and understandings needed to influence the behavior of others while fully respecting their freedom.
It is not enough to be a visionary. It has often been observed that there is no shortage of people with good, even revolutionary ideas; there is a shortage of people with good ideas who are able and willing to do the hard, pragmatic work of putting those ideas into practice. If I have a vision of how things ought to be, but I am not willing to engage in the work of leadership - listening, learning, empowering, taking risks, and driving relentlessly for real implementation - I will be irrelevant, or worse. Resource: Microsoft Encarta - "Encarta World English Dictionary." 1999. St. Martin's Press..