Great leaders demonstrate effective leadership skills, but most importantly, continue to improve themselves in every possible way. The person who thinks he is an expert, has a lot more to learn. Never stop learning. Be receptive to everyone’s perceptions and information from around the world and beyond. Always grow and learn.
Her six-year tenure as CEO has brought a 70% return to WestPac (WBK) shareholders — a remarkable feat given the challenges. Kelly engineered a huge merger with a rival bank, and then had to deal with fallout from the global financial crisis. Australia’s most powerful woman in business has gotten high marks all around.
While lauded as an investor, Buffett also leads 300,000 employees with a values-based, hands-off style that gives managers wide leeway and incentivizes them like owners. The result is America’s fifth-most-valuable company (BRKA). His influence extends much further than that, though: The world looks to the “Oracle of Omaha” for guidance on investing, the economy, taxes, management, philanthropy, and more.
Late in my corporate career, I spent countless hours tweaking budgets and moving numbers around in a spreadsheet. Fun times! Because of my attitude about spending money, I viewed the value of an employee in monetary terms. If I did it all over again, I’d view employees first and only as individuals with creative ideas that add value.
Stop for a moment and think about it. A leadership position sounds promising, but it also corresponds with not only a lot of work, but also with great responsibility. Perhaps you already have some experience as a team leader? Then, you know that this position takes a lot more than just achieving success with your team. You not only have to organize, coordinate and delegate, but also motivate – you are even the number one contact person when problems arise. Before you are ready to answer the “Why do you want to be a leader” interview question, really think about it. Are you really ready for a leadership position? Ask yourself the following questions:
I had great success with mentoring. During my time as a corporate leader, I met with my direct reports one on one on a regular basis, gave specific feedback about their work performance, and just got to know them better. I should have been even more intentional about it. It’s not about how often we met but how much I delved into work issues.
A toxic leader is someone who has responsibility over a group of people or an organization, and who abuses the leader–follower relationship by leaving the group or organization in a worse-off condition than when he/she joined it.
A company has to make money to stay in business. That means bringing money in the door, and it means spending less than you bring in. Depending on your function in the organization, you may have more influence on one area or the other, but you need to understand both. You can help your company, your employees, and yourself be getting better at managing the company’s money.
Although research has indicated that group members’ dependence on group leaders can lead to reduced self-reliance and overall group strength, most people actually prefer to be led than to be without a leader (Berkowitz, 1953). This “need for a leader” becomes especially strong in troubled groups that are experiencing some sort of conflict. Group members tend to be more contented and productive when they have a leader to guide them. Although individuals filling leadership roles can be a direct source of resentment for followers, most people appreciate the contributions that leaders make to their groups and consequently welcome the guidance of a leader (Stewart & Manz, 1995).
These two roles may seem paradoxical, but they really aren’t. The path is ‘how’ you get there; this can and will constantly change. But ‘who’ you are and what you stand for stays the same. If you believe in it, you stand by that.
Different situations call for different leadership styles. In an emergency when there is little time to converge on an agreement and where a designated authority has significantly more experience or expertise than the rest of the team, an autocratic leadership style may be most effective; however, in a highly motivated and aligned team with a homogeneous level of expertise, a more democratic or Laissez-faire style may be more effective. The style adopted should be the one that most effectively achieves the objectives of the group while balancing the interests of its individual members. A field in which leadership style has gained strong attention is that of military science, recently expressing a holistic and integrated view of leadership, including how a leader’s physical presence determines how others perceive that leader. The factors of physical presence are military bearing, physical fitness, confidence, and resilience. The leader’s intellectual capacity helps to conceptualize solutions and acquire knowledge to do the job. A leader’s conceptual abilities apply agility, judgment, innovation, interpersonal tact, and domain knowledge. Domain knowledge for leaders encompasses tactical and technical knowledge as well as cultural and geopolitical awareness.
Cy Wakeman is a national keynote speaker, business consultant, New York Times bestselling author, blogger and trainer who has spent over 20 years cultivating a revolutionary, reality-based approach to leadership. For more on Cy, check out www.realitybasedleadership.com or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
Pace-setting leader: With this style, you could charge ahead with your idea, but your team is still struggling, they may not fully understand it. So while you have an idea that solves the problem, their low morale means you have to micromanage them to get them ready. You run out of time.
Write down your own leadership skills and list some examples in which you demonstrated these skills successfully. Maybe if it wasn’t for your conflict resolution skills, the cooperation with your new advertising agency would have failed at the last minute. Ideally, if you are applying for a management position, you would have already gained some experience in staff management. You may have already coordinated a team or headed a department when your superior was out sick. Write down your successes and present the facts: “Over the last three months, I headed the “Marketing Innovation” project, comprised of nine members. I was not only responsible for the coordination of the project, but also the delegation of the responsibilities. Through regular meetings and feedback sessions with staff, I managed to resolve problems and conflicts at an early stage to optimize individual processes. This way, I could bring the project to completion, even three weeks earlier than scheduled.” Have no doubt when it comes to your leadership potential!
Set the tone of your leadership style from the outset. Be confident, self-assured and respectful with you meet. Speak as you want to be spoken to, and remember to listen. The first few weeks is when people develop their perceptions of you, so work hard to earn their trust. Staff want to look up to their leader, who must set out the desired tone, values and culture from the start; this will be key to effective change and progress.
Pope Francis has been unusually popular with many Catholics and many non-Catholics. His position isn’t totally traditional, which is part of his appeal, but he also has admirable leadership skills. Pope Francis’s TED talk drew attention, because he encouraged leaders to be humble and to demonstrate solidarity with others. This inclusive, kind, and respectful style of leadership is incredibly important for any situation.
Scouller proposed the Three Levels of Leadership model, which was later categorized as an “Integrated Psychological” theory on the Businessballs education website. In essence, his model aims to summarize what leaders have to do, not only to bring leadership to their group or organization, but also to develop themselves technically and psychologically as leaders.
Mark van Vugt and Anjana Ahuja in Naturally Selected: The Evolutionary Science of Leadership present evidence of leadership in nonhuman animals, from ants and bees to baboons and chimpanzees. They suggest that leadership has a long evolutionary history and that the same mechanisms underpinning leadership in humans can be found in other social species, too. Richard Wrangham and Dale Peterson, in Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence, present evidence that only humans and chimpanzees, among all the animals living on Earth, share a similar tendency for a cluster of behaviors: violence, territoriality, and competition for uniting behind the one chief male of the land. This position is contentious. Many animals beyond apes are territorial, compete, exhibit violence, and have a social structure controlled by a dominant male (lions, wolves, etc.), suggesting Wrangham and Peterson’s evidence is not empirical. However, we must examine other species as well, including elephants (which are matriarchal and follow an alpha female), meerkats (who are likewise matriarchal), and many others.