Do the right things
If people are not to wander aimlessly, work in silos or pursue competing agendas they need to be given a clear mission, know what results they should achieve and be held accountable for achieving those results. Effective leaders, therefore, create a compelling mission and vision and they communicate
precisely what they expect of their team. If your people aren’t focused on the same priorities you’re focused on, why not and at what cost?
“If the blind shall lead the blind, both shall fall in the ditch”.
Influence others and events
If we’re to be effective leaders then we clearly have to be adept at influencing people
to follow the paths we map out. Work is increasingly performed by diverse groups operating in diverse locations
and these distributed networks can only be effective if people are very clear about where they’re going and what they have to achieve. Typically, we can influence people through task-focused behaviour and relationship-focused behaviour. The firstn one is directive – telling people what we want them to do, when to do it, how to do it, where to do it; the other is more democratic – listening
, discussing, facilitating, collaborating, agreeing. Knowing which style to use and when is a skill that needs to be mastered if you’re going to lead your team effectively.
“He who thinks he leads and has no-one following him is only taking a walk”
Set a good example
Leaders have high visibility. Failure to walk the talk and live by the company’s values is noticed by all. Lose your credibility and you lose the hearts and minds of your team – it’s as simple as that.
“I want to make sure there is no discrepancy between what we say and what we do. If you preach accountability and then promote somebody with bad results, it doesn’t work. I personally believe the best training is management by example. Don’t believe what I say. Believe what I do.”
Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault-Nissan
Develop yourself, develop your team
Some people argue that leadership can’t be taught, that it has to be learned through direct experience, but if that’s the case then what’s the point of the gazillions of words written each year on how to be a better leader? Few would argue that leadership does have to be learned on the job, but teaching can inform that learning experience in many vital ways. What’s more, people at any level of the organisation can and should be encouraged to lead – it’s about attitude and behaviour, not titles and positions – and research shows that leadership training accelerates promotion, increases revenue and lowers costs. That’s a bottom line triple earner.
“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”
Jack Welch, former Chairman and CEO of General Electric
is not just unavoidable, it’s the norm. The effective leader views change as an opportunity
and seeks always to embrace it and utilise it rather than resist it and fall prey to it. That means moving with the times – ahead of them, even. Update your skills, update your knowledge, delve deeper, range wider, keep learning. If you want to maintain a good fit between you and your job you’re going to have to stay in shape.
“Going, if not yet gone, are the 9-5 workdays, lifetime jobs, predictable, hierarchical relationships, corporate culture security blankets, and, for a large and growing sector of the workforce, the workplace itself.”
Mary O’Hara-Devereaux, think-tank management consultant