Leadership is defined as the management function that directs towards people and social interaction which also influence people in the process in achieving the goals of the organization. Leadership is a relationship where there are no hierarchy between people. Leadership does not only talk about the personality but it does talk about the behavior; those that are observable set of skills and abilities. When we discover the best in a leadership, what they actually do when at their personal best, there sets thousands of stories from ordinary people and peak leadership experience.
Looking back to these two months, I learned a lot of the leadership concept which were very critical. These even changed a lot of things in my professional life as well. Some that I would like to discuss are;
Inspiring shared vision
The success of leadership starts with a vision. A vision which compels has the power to inspire people with a clarity and focus to the objective. Visions when clearly made with knowing what is being done, compels as mentioned here. It shows that it can be achieved and has challenges. The vision when shared to the team members includes everyone for getting the sense of ownership, alignment. Vision of an organization gives a better shape and more clarity about the distinctiveness. The vision has a great power to influence, let others own by having a shared vision and the sense of impact that the doings will be making.
We can take the example of Steve Jobs who was an exemplary leader. He clearly shared his vision with the fellow team mates and there was the development of Macintosh computer that outcast other computers in the market. The encouragement and clear communication with the team members made the Macintosh computer a huge success and still is a successful product.
The same leadership concept can be practiced at my workplace as well. I lead a project named Glocal Teen Hero – Glocal International Teen Conference. This project is no less than the work of an event company for organizing an international event. There are roles of multiple people and the team members have to wear multiple hats in the same platform. Lack of communication and trust among the team members is very important. When I shared this idea to our other team members, we were able to deliver the vision and objective of organizing this conference. In the course of organizing the conference, I could see the role of many hands that had literally helped me mobilize in making my vision a reality. The team members, volunteers, outer country representatives, etc. These are worked hard in bringing the teenagers internationally and nationally. The synergy or energy that the people involved in organizing the event was very powerful and it did lead to make our vision a reality. All the team members, volunteers had taken the leadership of their own responsibility. I could see the ownership feeling in them while doing their work and this particular thing motivated and assured me in my works. Taking this example, I would always communicate clearly on what vision we take forward to make a big success. As a leader, it is also very important to listen to the team mate’s suggestion and ideas and moreover appreciate their inputs. With a shared vision and clear understanding between the team mates, I believe we can build a fruitful collaboration to achieve success.
Model the Way
The most important quality that people usually look for or could say admire in a leader is his/her personal credibility. Credibility is said to be the foundation for an effective leadership. It is obvious that if people don’t believe in the messenger, they would not believe in the message as well. That is why a leader has to understand his/her value, belief and principles clearly so that that can be practiced clearly at the work place and at the same time inspire others to work on the same belief. A famous Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu once said that, “Leader lead by example, not by force.” Titles can be granted but leadership should be earned. Leaders model the way by clarifying their values and setting an example. Model the way is basically showing people how to work as per the values, belief and principles together in a team. This all depends on the voice of the leader so that the team is inspired to follow the same path. For this to happen, a leader should have clarified the values and set an example for the team members.
We can take a simple example, if a leader expects its people to come on time however he/she himself/herself always reaches late then this doesn’t justify concept of model the way. I have been asking my team mates to arrive office on time but for me to implement this practice was quite difficult. I run a small business and people working for me are my team rather than employees. The culture that is set is moreover of family where there are no such hard and fast corporate rules. In this situation, to make my people come on time, there would be me reaching office always 5 to 10 min earlier than the regular office time. For modeling the way, I welcome people at the office and we all have a cup of coffee together at before we are set to work. This makes my people build a trust and justifies my suggestion to come to office on time. Through this, my team mates realize that I stick to what I say and they get encouraged to follow the same belief of what I expect from them. This clearly states my vision and the expectation that I have from my people is well communicated as I have set an example to my people and this leadership is model the way.
Encourage the Heart
Encouraging the Heart describes all about caring leadership. It justifies how and why caring leadership works that goes beyond outlining practices and principles. Encouraging the heart as one of the five key practices of exemplary leaders. Recognition is one of the most important currency that a leader can have in their toolbox.
For a leader, encouraging the heart reflects by valuing the contribution of the team members and applauding their works in achieving the organizational goals. Encourage the heart, just not mean appreciating those who have done great works but also noticing those who has not been able to do well. Leader should understand the reason and help those to improve for betterment. An American author John Maxwell well said that, “You add value to people when you value them.”
Sharing an experience of mine, focusing on team players is very important, and so is to focus on the people who are not performing that well because they are with you because they are interested to be with you and learn. I always believe, mentoring skills is easier, mentoring attitude is very difficult. I had a very good friend of mine as a colleague, but she was not very efficient in the works provided to her, she was never able to complete or even if completed, it was something not publishable. I started being closer to her, understanding how does she feel and what is that one thing, for which her attitude is about learning and exploring, and it was talking. I changed her job profile to something which is more about talking and communicating, she performed very well, though she had to leave the organization, for initiating her own work. She is doing amazing currently. When a leader recognizes the achievement of the team members and side by side understanding why people are not performing well is what is said about encouraging the heart.
By: Cajol Jha