There are many ways to define leadership. Each one may come from a completely different perspective and core beliefs.
Leadership may mean you are the dominant person in a group or organization, it could mean getting things done by having the ability to bring in others to assist you. Leadership can also mean challenging who or what has set up a set of rules by providing a better way of doing something.
The “Alpha Leader”
Both in higher species of animals and primitive tribes the leader is always the most dominant amongst the others. That dominant person or animal has and shows the power necessary to reach and hold on to the “top dog” position until they either retire or someone younger comes along and takes over.
A leader can be passive or proactive in any given situation. If things are moving along smoothly and holding the status quo, it isn’t necessary for the leader to assert themselves if everything is stable. As long as everyone is following the rules and obeying the set of rules created by the leader there’s no reason to step in and upset the proverbial apple cart. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” would be the rule of the moment.
If you simply took the position of leader by seizing power, most of the group would never assume to confront you if you’re doing a good job at keeping things running smoothly. So, becoming a leader in this respect means you’re the ‘Top Dog’ and most people will respect your take charge attitude.
Being a Leader by Recruiting Helpers
Modern businesses are the model for leadership through “delegation.” Bosses, managers and others in corporate leadership positions get the best results by choosing the right person for the right task. Those who want total control and insist on doing everything themselves are never able to hold the reins of power for long.
In a corporate setting, leadership entails coordinating a group of highly skilled people with many specific skill-sets. Knowing how to utilize and place these people in their perfect positions takes someone able to think out of the box and make something that could be very complex look easy.
A good leader is not the embodiment of what used to be called “managers.” Of course there are still people in business settings with the title of manager, yet the reality is they are more than those who simply tell others what to do.
The old days of the ‘Boss,’ barking orders and threatening everyone on a daily basis is normally not acceptable in today’s corporate environment. Large, bureaucratic and controlling workplaces create an atmosphere of frustration, fear and lack of inspiration and innovation.
Being a leader is more than being a ‘cheerleader.’ There’s always room for motivation, but as it is often said; “A true Leader leads by example.” A boss who sits in his or her office shouting orders with a closed door policy will not last long in the 21st century business model. Neither will one of completely turning over the running of the company to the employees.
‘Casual Fridays’ are fine and can be incorporated in the dress code of the company as a special day of the week, but it must be clear who is running the company and who makes the final decisions. Casual dress does not mean including a casual attitude when it comes to work that must be completed even on Fridays.
In a well-run company there must be someone others can turn to for advice or counsel, knowing that person is in charge and due the respect they have earned by being creative and having an understanding of how to recognize their most dependable and valuable people.
Leaders Understand the Importance of Promoting A Better Way of Doing Things
We all know how to recognize a leader. Heads turn when they enter a room. They have a “look” about them that exudes confidence and power. They’re approachable and respectful of others, no matter how small a role that person plays in the corporate structure.
They build up their people instead of wearing them down. They invite suggestions and innovative ideas. They’re willing to listen but at the same time they are respected and appreciated.
A quality leader looks for ways to improve company and individual performance in the workplace. Many times something that seems like a novel idea can be a brilliant move that improves the flow of cash and efficiency to the company. And if the idea came from an employee the leader will not take credit but put the person who came up with the idea in the spotlight and perhaps give them an award and/or reward for their creative thinking.
21st Century Leadership
For any company to achieve greatness no matter on what level it will take someone at the helm who may be a “larger than life” personality who shines in the spotlight. They may almost become the ‘brand’ of the company as they go out and network with other executives, appear on radio, television and print media, representing the company and its services or products.
Within the confines of the company, there can be leadership shifts in various areas. If someone sticks their head up above the others and shows a particular talent or expertise it may make it necessary to move people around to different positions.
The leader of the company needs to keep on top of identifying those who show promise, talent and be prepared to offer them a higher position within the company. This can also motivate others to excel.
The Reinvention of Leadership
• A leader doesn’t always have to micro-manage people to get the job done.
• Being a leader means being the captain of the corporate ship. The leader chooses the crew and brings them aboard, then guides the ship as the “sailors” do what they need to do to keep the ship afloat.
• A leader promotes efficiency and a better way of doing certain things
• As a leader the responsibility for failure lies squarely on their shoulders
A successful leader urges employees to feel free to think creatively and assist in promoting company products and its’ services. A “thought leader” is someone who promotes better ideas in the industry. Knowing how to present new and innovative ideas takes a person with knowledge and excellent communication skills yet the common sense of emotional intelligence.
Someone who comes across as arrogant and unable to hear what others have to say does not embody a good leader. They must have the ability to articulate and demonstrate the depth of their ideas or those of others.
This type of talented individual has a monumental influencing style. They exude power and show others a sophisticated leadership model.
However, if the content of what they are presenting lacks substance it can be viewed as fluff and having less value than what the company and its leadership are trying to sell to the public. Make sure your product or service has the content to back up the hype.
In addition, a great leader understands the importance of fostering leadership among the rank and file of company employees, especially those already in moderately higher management levels. You never know where the next brilliant idea comes from.
As a rule, innovation comes from employees and occasionally from the most unlikely of people. Never, ever dismiss out of hand a suggestion or idea from anyone on the payroll.
True leadership also ensures the line between leadership and management is well-defined. Those with the skills will step up and the others will be left behind. When you define leadership, striving for excellence without being overpowering is something a real leader understands.