Inspiring Leadership – A tricky task!
1. ‘to guide someone or something along a way’
2. ‘to direct the operations, activity, or performance of’
3. ‘to direct on a course or in a direction’
(“Lead.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 14 May 2015. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lead>)
These definitions clearly sum up the role of a leader, whether that be the captain of a local football team or the leader of a country.
We can all think of examples of leaders who have inspired us: we might have worked with them, they might be an icon of popular culture like Richard Branson, or they might be an historical figure such as Winston Churchill.
For anyone, taking on this role as leader is no easy task; however, in this day and age we are lucky in that we have plenty of examples to learn from – some who got it completely wrong and others who got it right. We have the privilege of knowing that being a dictator and task-master isn’t effective in the long-run, but equally being the easy-going ‘friend to everyone’ isn’t productive either! So how do we strike the right balance?
Leadership can be broken down into four key elements: self-awareness, impact on others, team-leadership and the drive toward achieving organisational goals. The challenge as a leader is juggling these; they are equally important and equally dependent on each other, which is why it is important to take the time to understand and invest in developing each area. This is the key to finding that balance and being most effective as a leader.
The first two elements are about understanding your natural leadership style and behaviours, and how these affect others around you. It’s about moving from a ‘one size fits all’ approach, to providing direction, motivation and development in a way that aligns with each individual.
The second two elements, ‘team-leadership’ and ‘organisational goals’, are about utilising insight in combination with the tools and techniques necessary to motivate, engage and develop individuals and teams alike, in order to achieve strategic objectives and drive organic profitable growth. It’s about managing performance; encouraging and inspiring the best from people.
For many, the focus tends to fall on these two elements. However, the ability to communicate and influence is also vital to successful leadership, as well as the success of the organisation as a whole. Take time to understand the motivations and behaviours behind each individual; get to know what makes them tick. Without the team there is no success, so take a moment to consider whether you are investing equally in all the four leadership elements, you may be surprised at what you find!