Leading in the increasingly uncertain and fluid workplace.
There are different viewpoints attempting to describe this role of leadership. For example, the legendary Peter Drucker says: “The only definition of a leader is someone who has followers.” For sure, Mr. Drucker has a valid point, but such a definition doesn’t help describe what a leader should aspire to become. We have met too many individuals who only seek a title as a leader so that they achieve a higher salary or have more power over others. We are sure there are other ways to look at leadership that are equally valid and gives us a glimpse of the relationship between leaders and followers that benefits the organization.
Another well-known author, Warren Bennis says: “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” We at Strong Advice agree this is closer to describing the challenge of the leadership role, but there are other significant aspects that should be included in a complete description.
Bill Gates of Microsoft expressed leadership in terms of the future: “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.” A great vision by an innovative leader! He is very close to the way we look at leadership. Still, it falls short in delivering a picture of the purpose of leading. For what purpose does one empower others?
According to Kelvin Kruse, “Leadership is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal.” This is one of our favorite definitions because it looks at the following aspects of leadership:
- The leadership of people is socially influenced. This involves motivating people to take ownership of a particular course of action and to commit themselves to the goal which is built from their loyalty to the community of workers or the leader. Social norms and the workplace environment are important for a leader to know for achieving maximum influence.
- Leadership maximizes the efforts of others. This part of leadership sounds a lot like management. It is about knowing the talents and gifts of each individual and balancing workloads and priorities to complete tasks in the most effective and efficient ways. Leaders recognize the importance of developing talents so that the results of the team improve over time. The best leader also needs to be a good manager!
- Leadership keeps everyone focused on a goal. With all the efforts and activities required for implementation and the resistance that is encountered along the way, it is natural for individuals to lose track of the purpose of their work. Leaders have to not only establish goals but also remind everyone about them and give focus and direction to all their efforts. The completion of a goal means that we are closer to attaining the vision that is the ultimate goal for the organization.
In summary, leaders encourage positive transformation by casting a vision and defining the direction of their organization or team and communicating the vision to their people. They not only inform them of that vision but seek to motivate, inspire, and empower them to contribute to the achievement of organizational success. This has always been a challenge whether it is a family business or a large corporation. Now, all of a sudden, it gets more complex!
Here comes Globalization to change the world of business forever.
Globalization is taking the leader on a new journey and it is more like scaling a mountain! Every known way of doing business has to be re-thought In the face of globalization. Leadership principles and competencies that were needed to successfully don’t naturally lead to success anymore. The leader must adapt the traditional tools of the trade and add new tools if he wants to succeed in a global environment. But the big questions are:
1) What is globalization?
2) And what impact does it have on leadership?
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Recommended Reading- Leadership in the face of globalization: Part 2