Next year marks the 70th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination. Known for his messages of truth, religious harmony and non-violence, he was murdered by Nathuram Godse, a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the right wing advocate of Hindu nationalism, which is the fountainhead of India’s ruling party, the BJP under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Many Indians remember Gandhi as a leader who had lived and died for the cause of Hindu-Muslim amity. He led a hunger strike on January 13, 1948 seeking to restore religious harmony in the country. Godse shot him 17 days later, because he thought Gandhi favoured the political demands of India’s Muslims during the partition of the Indian subcontinent in August 1947.
Theresa May, the UK prime minister, was widely blamed for the Conservative party’s poor performance in the country’s 2017 general election. Her robotic mantra of “strong and stable” leadership was much-criticised.
Ultimately, everyone has it in them to be a great and effective leader. It takes knowledge and practice sure, but if you are flexible and consider the many different forms of leadership out there, then you may find your skills as a leader, and the ultimate effectiveness of your team, grows and expands to greatness.
Jump up ^ Arvey, R. D.; Rotundo, M.; Johnson, W.; Zhang, Z.; McGue, M. (2006). “The determinants of leadership role occupancy: Genetic and personality factors”. The Leadership 17: 1–20. doi:10.1016/j.leaqua.2005.10.009.
Keep your thoughts and attitude positive: Being positive usually isn’t hard, but when things aren’t going your way, it can be tough to stay upbeat. Try to keep a positive view even when things are tough, so your team can embrace their failures and learn from them. A few words of encouragement and an optimistic attitude can turn things around quickly.
According to research from Gallup, managers account for up to 70% of the variance in engagement. With less than one-third of Americans engaged in their job, you can start to see how big of a deal this is.
As we look towards flipping the calendar on 2017, it’s time to think about starting a new year, and what we can do better. For all of you leaders out there, that means becoming the best leader you can be. Here are some ways you can be a better leader in 2018.
^ Jump up to: a b Judge, T. A.; Bono, J. E.; Ilies, R.; Gerhardt, M. W. (2002). “Personality and leadership: A qualitative and quantitative review”. Journal of Applied Psychology. 87 (4): 765–780. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.87.4.765. PMID 12184579.
For example, in 2011, the CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings, tried to convert the successful DVD-renting business into a streaming-only enterprise, provisionally called Qwikster. Hordes of Netflix devotees ended their subscription. Netflix’s stock price dropped nearly 80% at one point.
My books explore important themes in leadership and responsibility, and are designed for anyone who pursues excellence, whether in the boardroom, on the job site, or in the community. I invite you to have a look at them and consider using them to assist in your own personal development as a leader and a human being.
Trust your instinct. If it doesn’t feel right, the chances are it isn’t right. I’m a great believer in the power of the subconscious, given time, to steer us to the right answers. That’s why I often prefer to have a couple of discussions before taking a difficult decision, even if that slows down the process. It helps give me certainty about what I think, and it helps the wider leadership group understand each other’s point of view and build consensus. The end result is a better decision with better buy-in.
In fact, business owners can count on a certain amount of respect and followership based on their ownership and title. Longevity, too, plays a role in attracting and retaining followers. People who have followed the leader for ten years will continue to follow unless they lose trust in the leader’s direction.
Focus on what you want to do, and take steps to get where you want to be. Learn the skills that are necessary for that job or position you want in your life. When people see your determination toward reaching your goals, they’ll reconsider.
The most junior eat first, followed in rank order, with the leaders eating last. This isn’t a rule, they simply do this because in the Marines, they believe that the responsibility of a leader is to put others’ needs above their own.
What happens when leaders must communicate facts that are hard to take? Nitin Nohria reflects on Winston Churchill’s devastating defeat at Gallipoli, which resulted in over 100,000 Allied casualties during World War I. “The campaign was a total fiasco for British military leadership,” he notes. “When it was over, Churchill took complete responsibility. A setback like that could have been paralyzing, but he was able to move forward to lead his country to victory in World War II.”
Another important quality of a good leader involves knowing that offering effective recognition and rewards is one of the best ways to help followers feel appreciated and happy. It may also come as no surprise that happy people tend to perform better at work. According to researchers Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer, leaders can help group members feel happier by offering help, removing barriers to success and rewarding strong efforts.
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In fact, in organizations, one of the reasons employees are promoted to positions such as team leader, supervisor, or department manager, is that they have demonstrated over time that people will follow them.
Nohria also feels that leaders are able to distill their message, however complex it may be, to something that is accessible to those who may not share their knowledge or background. Joe Badaracco agrees. “You need a talent for simplicity — for saying things in a few words. General Electric’s Jack Welch is a good example. He is astonishingly articulate and able to convey complicated concepts in just a few phrases.”
A strategy is a collection of actions organized in a plan to work toward a vision. Leaders are responsible for working with employees, customers, partners, suppliers and stakeholders to define, implement and execute a strategy that helps the firm succeed in the marketplace.
This technique comes from a Japanese industrialist named Sakichi Toyoda. He developed the method in order to find solutions at the root of recurring issues related to his manufacturing plant and helped blow up his company into a household name — you might have heard of it: Toyota Motors.
David Logan talks about the five kinds of tribes that humans naturally form — in schools, workplaces, even the driver’s license bureau. By understanding our shared tribal tendencies, we can help lead each other to become better individuals.
My partner, Howard Morgan, and I conducted an extensive study on leadership development programs involving more than 86,000 participants in eight major corporations. Our findings were so conclusive that they are almost impossible to dispute. Leaders who participated in a development program, received 360-degree feedback, selected important areas for improvement, discussed these with co-workers, and followed-up with them on a consistent basis (to check on progress) were rated as becoming dramatically better leaders—not in a self-assessment, but in appraisals from co-workers—6 to 18 months after the initial program. (If you’d like a copy of this study, you can find it here.
A boss may think that their time is more valuable than their team’s, which may result in them tending to be long winded, scheduling endless meetings and requiring tedious follow up. A leader usually recognizes that everyone’s time is valuable, and may try to make sure that no one has to wait unnecessarily for them or for valuable information. They may be good at setting priorities so their team can be the most productive they can be. Leaders may also realize that their team members have a life and don’t expect them to work 24/7.
Use technology, don’t let it use you. Technology can be incredibly powerful; it connects us with people around the world in the blink of an eye; it computes algorithms accurately and quickly; it makes mundane tasks, like data entry, easier and less painful. But technology can be a burden if you let it. It can sap your energy and productivity, leading to wasted opportunity. The beauty and the bane of the internet, specifically, is that TED Talks can turn into watching Ted the movie quicker than you can say “ADD.”
Be firm, but be kind. Since you’re leading, you’re the one that needs to set the rules and boundaries. It’s up to you to establish some system, rhyme and reason to the situation. To do so, you must be firm in your convictions and keep to your stance. However, being dictatorial will instigate a revolution. Be logical and understanding when you assert your rule.