Leadership—the Merriam-Webster dictionary describes this noun as:
- A position as a leader of a group, organization, etc.
- The time when a person holds the position of leader
- The power or ability to lead other people
“So what is leadership?
Leadership is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal.”
Simply put leadership is a process through which one uses one’s social influence in ensuring others maximize their efforts so that a common goal is achieved. The key words here are process & social influence.
Nowhere in this definition do you find anything connected to one’s position (in an organisation). This is exactly where we often make the critical mistake in our approach to and in our execution of leadership. More often than not we approach leadership based on our ‘position power’ that we are empowered with and not with the social influence that we need to develop. That, in itself, is a huge mistake!
As Kevin Kruse succinctly puts it, Leadership is about:
- Social influence NOT authority or power
- To be a leader you need others (i.e. followers) and not positional ‘direct reports’
- Being an effective leader is all about being authentic. Being you and not ‘playing a role’.
- Having a clearly defined goal that is achieved through influencing other for the intended outcome NOT going through the motions of influencing.
Leadership directly impacts about on the sustainability of a business. The single most important attribute of leadership is influence. Why? Because through influence one needs to engage the audience.You can’t lead without having an engaged audience or followers.
And how do you get an engaged audience?
Whilst a lot has been written and even more has been spoken about leadership, we still have an issue of fair to poor leadership in many organizations.
Is this scenario because of we can’t develop leadership skills or we simply don’t believe leadership can’t be taught or, as adults we just can’t unlearn in order to re-learn new skills?
In today’s business climate, being sustainable i.e. having an ethically viable and profitable brand over long-term, should be one of the three key business priorities. The other two priorities stem from sustainability and are, organisational sustainability and financial sustainability.
To deliver on making a business sustainable, strong, dynamic and influential leadership is critical in order to have a brand that is respected and is engaged with its stakeholders.
In the journey of making a brand sustainable (and it’s not a program/project that will bear fruit in a year, mind you!) organisational leadership is critical and key to success.
Leadership, that has the emotional & intellectual maturity to, engage the organisation’s rank and file on a one to one in order to have a motivated group of followers who understand their role and appreciate the challenge is must- have. Well, that’s easier said than done!
To engage and endear themselves, leaders have to approach the staff at various levels using various methods. And leaders have to remind themselves that the ‘status and power they have and use to drive business socially’ is for the external world.
Not for staff.
Leaders need to have the ability to compartmentalize their behaviour between how they represent the brand externally and internally. The behaviour leaders display internally is what staff will pick up and emulate in their interactions with respective stakeholder groups. Thus, unknowingly leaders could be setting themselves up for failure if they are not cognizant of their own internal behaviour and their level of engagement with their staff.
Without an engaged rank and file behind the leader, delivering the image projected externally becomes fraught with danger.
Thus, endangering the brand’s sustainability. And without the brand being sustainable, the organisation’s process & financial sustainability simply fades out of the long-term picture.
- When real Leadership impact on employee engagement (mlagrow3.wordpress.com)
- What is Conscious Leadership? (gifcl.com)