What is Leadership?
Leadership can be explained in many different ways, such as:
- A way of influencing people beyond routine compliance
- An act that causes others to act or respond in a shared direction
- A force that motivates and coordinates an organization to achieve its objectives
- An ability to inspire confidence and support among people who are needed to attain organizational goals
Following are the important skills for a leader:
- Inspiration: You need to inspire your team, and this can be done by setting examples.
- Persuasion: Getting people to change their minds by suggesting an alternate route they had not considered.
- Influence: Influencing group members to accomplish things as: Taking on more responsibility and shooting for higher standards.
- Motivation: To motivate another person is to get that person to put added effort into the job.
- Change: To ask questions such as: What's broken? What could be improved? What is sacred about our standard way of handling a thing? Why don't we have a better reputation? What changes would help us rise above competition?
Along with the above mention skills, a leader must also have creative skills, communication skills, motivating skills and team working skills.
- Creative Skills- Here are some things that you can do to foster creative problem solving:
- Keep track of your original ideas by maintaining an idea notebook. Few people have uncluttered minds and they can recall all their past ideas when required.
- Stay updated in your field and hunt for ideas. This gives you the raw material to link information creatively. Creativity often takes the form of associating ideas.
- Adopt a risk-taking attitude to find creative solutions. You will fail a few times, but do not worry, keep going.
- Allow your frisky side to emerge. Creativity requires a degree of intellectual play fullness and practical jokes.
- Be curious about your environment. The person, who routinely questions how things work, or why they do not work often heads for improvement.
- Sometimes to make decisions, intuition is used. It is an experience based way of reasoning in which weighing and balancing evidence is done automatically.
To develop intuition, you need to:
- Achievement: People with a strong achievement drive find joy in task accomplishment like building something from scratch or completing a major project.
- Power: People with a high power need, feel compelled to control resources and people. To truly satisfy this, a person would have to hold a significant managerial or leadership position. However, the leader might be able to appeal to a group member's power need by giving the person a chance to control a task.
- Affiliation: People with a strong affiliation need to seek out close relationships with others and tend to be loyal as friends or employees.
- Recognition: People who seek recognition want to be acknowledged for their contribution and efforts. This can be satisfied through winning contests, receiving awards, and seeing one's name in print.
- Dominance: People with a strong need for dominance want to influence others to comply with their way of thinking. People driven by dominance often take over in meetings and volunteer to be leaders. A leader can appeal to person's need for dominance by rewarding the person with a chance to be in charge of something important.
- Order: The need for order is recognized with an urge to organize things. Such people want to achieve arrangement, balance, neatness and precision.
- Thrill-seeking: People with a strong thrill-seeking motive crave excitement and are driven to a life of stimulation and risk-taking. Dealing in penny stocks can satisfy the thrill seeking urge, as can introducing a new product in a highly competitive environment.
- Security: Most people have a strong need to work in a safe environment that is free from both physical and emotional injury, and have relatively stable employment. The need for security can be satisfied by a safe, friendly work environment and a full-time or permanent job.
Skills required for team work
To develop effective skills required for team work:
- Make members responsible for their results. They take credit for a job well done and blame for a poor job.
- Design the team so that everybody views their job as challenging and enriching.
- Make the team members interact with a client. Serving a client, whether internal or external, is more satisfying than performing work solely for a leader.
- Encourage learning capacity in team members.
- Team members should receive evaluation of their work.
- Allow members to control scheduling of their own time.
- Bury the first person singular "I", instead use "We"
What is your Leadership Style?
A starting point in understanding your leadership style is by asking people who have seen you in any leadership role to describe how you act as a leader. Tell them you are not looking for compliments. If asking open-ended questions does not furnish you the information you can try the following probes:
- In your opinion, do I put more emphasis on the relationships with people, or do I focus more on the task at hand?
- Do I come across as a taskmaster?
- Do I come across as too easy-going with people?
- How much direction do I provide?
- How responsive am I to the needs of the group members?
- Does my leadership inspire you, or anybody else?
- As a leader, do I come across as a hard-core bureaucrat?
- How warm and supportive am I as a leader?
The following table illustrates the type of feedback on leadership practices a person might gather from the 360-degree technique. Using this technique feedback is derived from a full sampling of parties who interact with the leader. As you can see the leader in question thinks more highly of his effectiveness than does the group.