Good leaders are made not born. If you have the desire and willpower, you can become an effective leader. Good leaders develop through a never-ending process of self-study, education, training, and experience. This guide will help you through that process.
To inspire your people into higher levels of teamwork, there are certain things you must be, know, and, do. These do not come naturally, but are acquired through continual work and study. The best leaders are continually working and studying to improve their leadership skills.
Before we get started, lets define leadership. Leadership is a complex process by which a person influences others to accomplish a mission, task, or objective and directs the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent. A person carries out this process by applying her leadership attributes (belief, values, ethics, character, knowledge, and skills). Although your position as a manager, supervisor, lead, etc. gives you the authority to accomplish certain tasks and objectives in the organization, this power does not make you a leader…it simply makes you the boss. Leadership makes people want to achieve high goals and objectives, while, on the other hand, bosses tell people to accomplish a task or objective.
When a person is deciding if he respects you as a leader, he does not think about your attributes. He observes what you do so that he can know who you really are. He uses this observation to tell if you are a honorable and trusted leader, or a self serving person who misuses her authority to look good and get promoted. Self serving leaders are not as effective because their employees only obey them, not follow them. They succeed in many areas because they present a good image to their seniors at the expense of their people.
The basis of good leadership is honorable character and selfless service to your organization. In your employees’ eyes, your leadership is everything you do that effects the organization’s objectives and their well being. A respected leader concentrates on what she is [be] (beliefs and character), what she knows (job, tasks, human nature), and what she does (implement, motivate, provide direction).
What makes a person want to follow a leader? People want to be guided by those they respect and who have a clear sense of direction. To gain respect, they must be ethical. A sense of direction is achieved by conveying a strong vision of the future.
Two most important keys of leadership
Trust and confidence in top leadership was the single most reliable predictor of employee satisfaction in an organization.
Effective communication by leadership in three critical areas was the key to winning organizational trust and confidence:
o Helping employees understand the company’s overall business strategy.
o Helping employees understand how they contribute to achieving key business objectives.
o Sharing information with employees on both how the company is doing and how an employee’s own division is doing – relative to strategic business objectives.
So basically, you must be trustworthy and you have to be able to communicate a vision of where you are going.
The four major factors of leadership are the:
Follower – Different people require different styles of leadership. For example, a new hire requires more supervision than an experienced employee. A person with a poor attitude requires a different approach than one with a high degree of motivation. You must know your people! The fundamental starting point is having a good understanding of human nature: needs, emotions, and motivation. You must know your employees’ be, know, and do attributes.
Leader – You must have a honest understanding of who you are, what you know, and what you can do. Also, note that it is the followers, not the leader who determines if a leader is successful. If a follower does not trust or lacks confidence in her leader, then she will be uninspired. To be successful you have to convince your followers, not yourself or your superiors, that you are worthy of being followed.
Communication – You lead through two-way communication. Much of it is nonverbal. For instance, when you “set the example,” that communicates to your people that you would not ask them to perform anything that you would not be willing to do. What and how you communicate either builds or harms the relationship between you and your employees.
Situation – All situations are different. What you do in one leadership situation will not always work in another situation. You must use your judgment to decide the best course of action and the leadership style needed for each situation. For example, you may need to confront a employee for inappropriate behavior, but if the confrontation is too late or too early, too harsh or too weak, then the results may prove ineffective.
Various forces will affect these factors. Examples of forces are your relationship with your seniors, the skill of your people, the informal leaders within your organization, and how your company is organized.