THERE’S a great many posts and articles about the difference between leaders and managers, so I’ll leave my two cents worth on that topic for another time. Instead, here’s a look at why building leadership into an organization’s culture makes managers’ jobs much easier, and allows for a flatter and far more agile hierarchy.
Readers who’ve been here before may be familiar with the Method Leadership™ framework, which defines leadership as “Choosing the right objective, the best way to reach it, and inspiring others to join you“; and assesses four attributes as essential for good leadership: Independence, Peoples Skills, Expertise, and Passion. Another way to look at these attributes is:
THINK. ENGAGE. LEARN. VALUE.
Independence is essentially about being wiling and able to think for yourself. It is the fundamental quality of good leaders. Leadership starts with assessing options and making good choices. That means thinking well. I would go so far as to suggest that the inability of many people to think well and independently is the single biggest problem organizations face. Unfortunately, our schools don’t teach thinking skills, and worse, because you can only think as clearly as the words you can use, poor literacy standards contribute to poor thinking skills.
To engage others is about being able to communicate effectively, to hear and be heard, no matter what the circumstances nor how difficult the message. There’s a range of people skills that need to be learned for good leadership – negotiation, delegation, team-building, to name a few – but they all boil down to being able to communicate effectively.
Gaining expertise in any field takes effort; learning and practice. Good leaders know that there is always more to learn, they consistently provide learning opportunities for others, and understand that mistakes are part of the process.
Adding value is the meaning of life. Some people call it “making a difference”. Being passionate means valuing highly that which you set out to achieve, and having the tenacity to persist in the face of obstacles. “Never Give Up” as Mr. Churchill once said.
These essential attributes of good leadership and the ability to employ them in “choosing the right objective, the best way to reach it, and inspiring others”, are not just for those with titles. In fact, they’re vitally important for everybody striving for success and happiness.
Imagine if all of your employees embodied these attributes: they thought for themselves, making effective choices and initiating action; they communicated effectively with customers and each other; they constantly sought to improve themselves; and,they were passionate about their work – enthusiastic, dedicated, productive.
You wouldn’t need to manage them that much, would you?
In coming posts we’ll be looking at what titled leaders can do not only to improve their own leadership ability, but to inculcate a leadership culture within the organizations and communities they serve. A culture where everyone is empowered and encouraged to take the lead.
Such an organization is flatter, responds far more quickly to customer needs and changing markets, and provides the best possible platform for innovation. All vital for organizations that want to thrive in this new super-connected world.
If you thought this was worth reading, I’d be much obliged if you’d consider sharing ↓ And please comment if you like – it would make my day. Cheers.