The critical assignments of a leader part (2)

Last time we began looking at leadership. We saw that each of us is a leader in one area or the other. Some lead people unconsciously but if our lives will count we must be conscious of our leadership abilities and roles. In addition we must acquire necessary leadership skills to make us better and effective leaders.

A leader is someone who influences a certain group of people to achieve certain goals, aims and objectives. The quality of the leadership will determine the quality and output of the followers. Leaders show the way and pave the way for the followers to follow. Leaders are to be models – determining the way, showing the way, leading the way and helping the followers to reach the destination.

A leader guides his team toward achievable goals, aims and objectives. A leader must of necessity know the way and the destination. You cannot be a leader if you do not know where you are taking the people to.  Having a defined destination and a vision is not enough for a leader he must be able to carry people along the journey to arrive corporately at the destination.

“Leadership is the ability to establish standards and manage a creative climate where people are self-motivated toward the mastery of long term constructive goals, in a participatory environment of mutual respect, compatible with personal values.” Mike Vance

For someone to be regarded as a leader he must have people following him to get the job of carrying out the set goals, aims and objectives. Leadership is influencing the followers to get things done that will accomplish not just the corporate agenda but also the individual follower’s good.

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” Ronald Reagan

An effective leader must be a good mobilizer. The leader must be a mobilizer of men and resources. The leader must mobilize his followers to achieve the purpose of the group. No one can be a leader without the ability to mobilize.

“The leader is one who mobilizes others toward a goal shared by leaders and followers. … Leaders, followers and goals make up the three equally necessary supports for leadership.” Gary Wills

Mobilisation involves the leader earning the trust of his followers. There is no way a person can lead people who do not trust him. Trust in leadership has many dimensions. There is trust between the leader and the led – the leader must trust that his followers will follow him in the execution of the purpose of their individual and corporate existence. There is trust within the followers- they must be able to work together as a team. The followers must trust the leadership that their best interest is in their mind. There must be trust that the leader can accomplish and deliver what he promises.

Trust is an indispensible ingredient of effective leadership. An effective leader will ensure he earns the trust of his followers and keeps it fresh and vibrant.

“When trust is low, in a company or in a relationship, it places a hidden “tax” on every transaction: every communication, every interaction, every strategy, every decision is taxed, bringing speed down and sending costs up. My experience is that significant distrust doubles the cost of doing business and triples the time it takes to get things done.

By contrast, individuals and organizations that have earned and operate with high trust experience the opposite of a tax — a “dividend” that is like a performance multiplier, enabling them to succeed in their communications, interactions, and decisions, and to move with incredible speed.” Steven Covey

To be continued

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The Critical Assignments of a Leader Part 3

Last time we were looking at the issue of leadership. We looked at the issue of mobilization. The leader must be a mobilizer of men and resources. The leader must mobilize his followers to achieve the purpose of the group. No one can be a leader without the ability to mobilize.

“The leader is one who mobilizes others toward a goal shared by leaders and followers. … Leaders, followers and goals make up the three equally necessary supports for leadership.” Gary Wills

Mobilisation involves the leader earning the trust of his followers. There is no way a person can lead people who do not trust him.

Where there is no trust in the team it is just a matter of time before disintegration sets in.

“There is a difference between being a leader and being a boss. Both are based on authority. A boss demands blind obedience; a leader earns his authority through understanding and trust.” Klaus Balkenhol

Where there is trust, authority is never abused but used for the good of the group and the individual members. Everybody, both the leader and the led, are on the same page . . . the good of all.

“Leadership must be based on goodwill. Goodwill does not mean posturing and, least of all, pandering to the mob. It means obvious and wholehearted commitment to helping followers. We are tired of leaders we fear, tired of leaders we love, and of tired of leaders who let us take liberties with them. What we need for leaders are men of the heart who are so helpful that they, in effect, do away with the need of their jobs. But leaders like that are never out of a job, never out of followers. Strange as it sounds, great leaders gain authority by giving it away.”  Admiral James B. Stockdale

We cannot overemphasize the importance of trust in leadership. Nobody will feel free and be at his best in an atmosphere of mistrust; hence a leader must make the building of trust a priority.

Once vision is defined by the leader his first priority is to build and inspire trust in his followers. The truth of the matter is that nobody can be a leader without trust.

“The very first job of a leader is to inspire trust. Trust is the single most essential element to our ability to deliver extraordinary results in an enduring way. Trust is integrity to building high-performance because it enables an organization to work as it should; it’s the first defense against dysfunction and the first step towards delivering better outcomes. As we work to continuously improve our leadership, we are inspired by the thought leadership of others who also revere building trust as a critical mission.”ConantLeadership

Trust creates authenticity and authenticity creates freedom which in turns encourages people to put in their best.

“Authenticity is the alignment of head, mouth, heart, and feet – thinking, saying, feeling, and doing the same thing – consistently.” Lance Secretan

Trust means the followers know the leader is with them all the way. They know the leader has a stake in not only what happens to the group but to the individual followers.

“We are going into battle against a tough and determined enemy. I can’t promise you that I will bring you all home alive. But this I swear, before you and before Almighty God: that when we go into battle, I will be the first to set foot on the field, and I’ll be the last to step off. And I will leave no one behind. Dead or alive, we will all come home together, so help me God.” Lt. Col. Hal Moore