Issues Concerning an Effective Leader


By

Brijendra Singh
Lecturer, Marketing
Amity Business School
Amity University
Uttar Pradesh
 


Ability to persuade others and seek the defined objectives enthusiastically is called as Leadership.
                                                                                                                      Robert Davis

Abstract: Quite often, the debate goes on and on.. Whether leaders are born or made! To be a good leader is just like to becoming a good human being. Once you start down the road to self-improvement, others will definitely notice. Leading in business isn't much different. Step out and people notice, many will even follow. To be an effective leader however, whether in business or any other type of endeavor is more complex and demands of it's aspirants a whole array of prerequisites. True leadership is more about doing rather than being. 'Lead by example.' This is the most common advise regarding leadership and with good reason. The need of the hour is "Leadership is action, not position." With leading by example in mind, here are guidelines to effective leadership.

1. Lead the way in how you work:" Delegating work works, provided the one delegating works, too." Expect to work twice as hard as everyone who works for you and don't be afraid to get your hands dirty. If you can't successfully do every job in your organization, you aren't working hard enough and you aren't appreciating your employees enough to keep them. Of course in some cases, this is impossible. However, you should at least try. You need your employees respect; they will become your right hands and left hands too. They will be the ones who you will call to work late to meet a deadline. They will also be the ones who will sell your company to the people they know. They will even be your customers - if they believe in you. To turn your employees into your valuable assets, you only have to work hard, elbow to elbow along side of them, learning to appreciate them in the process.

2. Lead the way in how you treat people: Treat people well as equals and with respect. This seems difficult for some and yet it just makes good sense. In today's versatile market, where good help is hard to find and even harder to keep, where customer loyalty is more precious than gold and where your reputation can make or break your business, treating people well is a no-brainer. If you can't do that, don't worry about leading, you aren't going to be in business long anyway. Try to give people your time. Everyone is busy, so time has become a precious commodity. If you give of your time, people will appreciate it and you. It will pay off. Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you will help them become what they are capable of becoming.

3. Lead the way in your attitude: Be positive and optimistic. Our attitudes, mindsets and feelings have a direct relationship to our experiences. The core tenants of success training teach us how to shift and maintain a positive outlook. No one is going to follow a neigh-sayer for long, even if they agree. They will soon join in criticizing you. People need and want hope - always and without exception; they will follow those who offer it, period. As Napoleon Bonaparte said, "A leader is a dealer in hope."

4. Lead the way with your vision: "If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities." Each new advancement made by the human race was born of a single idea, most of them completely unrealistic. The really radical ideas of yesterday are today's reality. To lead, you must always remain creative. You must stretch your imagination, especially for those who can not. You must dream of what is not possible first, in order to make it probable someday.  "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader". "Leadership is the special quality which enables people to stand up and pull the rest of us over the horizon." So dream big and share your vision with others who can appreciate it.

5. Lead the way in education: "Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other." You'll never know everything. You must always be learning. A project can be devastated by an employee who thinks they know it all. If the leader thinks this way, it can be devastating to a company. And train the others within your organization. It keeps things fresh. Learning causes thinking, creativity and growth.

6. Lead the way with courage: Leaders have fears, but they don't let it dominate them. It is to be noted that fear kills! They muster the courage to face their fears. "A real leader faces the music even when he doesn't like the tune" Many run away from what they are afraid of. If you have the gumption to refuse fear's control, then already you are a leader by example. You will bend, so even when the wind is really blowing; Stand up. Others will notice. They always do. If you are able to do this in business you will stand out. Risk-taking is part of courage, playing it safe seldom delivers consistent success. People, those within and outside your organization, will value what you value. If you are willing to take a risk, they will too. "Don't be afraid to take a big step when one is indicated. You can't cross a chasm in two small steps."

7. Lead the way in humility: Admit when you are wrong and have the courage to change directions as needed. This gives people the permission to do the same and keeps the organization dynamic and evolving. To do otherwise wastes time and resources and could be the end of you and your company. You will make mistakes, you will change and you will fail. Admit it now and get over it. No matter how high up you are or how much money you make, you are not perfect. Everyone knows it already. Isn't it time you knew it too. Humility also dictates that leaders learn from others, all others. A true leader will see every other human on the planet as a teacher and will be the wiser, and richer, for it. Leadership doesn't require perfection - if it did, there would not be any leaders. People like to know that they can aspire to be like their leaders, so don't set yourself up too high, where no one can reach you. "A good leader inspires others with confidence in him; a great leader inspires them with confidence in themselves."

8. Lead the way in Strength: This does not mean to force your ideas through your will. There is a difference between power versus force. Power comes from within, and is not reliant on others to supply it. Force constantly needs energy for replenishing. Therefore it demands energy from everyone else. Power comes with knowing, rightness, patience and goodness. Force comes from lack, lust, impulse, feelings of inferiority and fear. Power is eternal, force is temporary. To lead with strength is to find the place inside where you are at peace with yourself and your world. This connection provides the strength necessary to continue when times are tough. True strength is admired by all, even your enemies. It comes from deep inside, not from walking on the backs of those underneath you. Albert Einstein said, "Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person."

9. Lead the way in how you play: The life of a true leader demands balance. Good fun, time off and relaxation give life and work meaning and appreciation. As a leader, show your people that playing is valuable and creates a more well rounded, creative, happy &  hard-working employee. "The leadership instinct you are born with is the backbone. You develop the funny bone and wishbone that go with it." Good leaders laugh. Laughing is good for the soul, creativity and your whole organization. Medically there are all kinds of benefits to laughter but you can already feel that to be true. So, if you wish to be an effective leader, laugh and encourage everyone around you to do the same. This does seem like a lot to ask of our leaders. Honestly though, the days of guru's and demi-gods are over. We can no longer trust in them, too many have fallen. Let's not allow our aspirations for improvement and excellence to plummet with them. "A good leader is not the person who does things right, but the person who finds the right things to do." Perfection is not the pinnacle we climb to reach. Effective leadership is instead the human spirit reaching honestly for the star it wishes to become.

10. Lead the way in Service: The mantra is: "The first step to leadership is Let service be the motto." Step by step, service teaches its own lessons on the path to effective leadership. It is not one's self importance that people are attracted to. Human kind reacts negatively to such aspects but those who find meaning in helping others invite our esteem. Einstein wrote, "The high destiny of the individual is to serve rather than to rule." When we understand the interconnectedness of all people, serving takes on new meaning. We are not only part of a global market, but we are part of a global economy, a global climate and a global race. Everything comes around. It's a universal law.

Conclusion: Leadership is everyone's business. Clearly, leadership is an issue that affects all of us. Not only are we impacted by it but also, we are all called upon to exercise it. Whether we are called upon to be involved in leading government or business, guiding young minds, leading a family, standing for what is right, or organizing a dinner, a carpool, or a household, everyone has a leadership role to play. We are each thrust into many different leadership roles again and again, throughout our lives. We are each called upon to be custodians of what is right and good, lasting and of value, for those in our care.
 


Brijendra Singh
Lecturer, Marketing
Amity Business School
Amity University
Uttar Pradesh
 

Source: E-mail August 24, 2007

          

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