Recently, I read a short article that claimed the phrase “It’s lonely at the top” could never have been made by a great leader – because if you are all alone,nobody is following you; and if nobody is following you, you are not really leading.” (SoulFood Reading)
It is a good point, because effective leadership is all about leading people to a shared vision. It is axiomatic that people will not follow you if you are going to a place that they do not wish to go! So first of all, as a leader, you must have a vision of where you are going. In an organization, this vision is an imagined future condition in which the organization, and/or a team within an organization, will create something of unquestionable value, unparalleled service to customers, and/or a completely new way of doing business.
In developing this vision, you must be able to prioritize the big picture, and be open to explore multiple ideas and possibilities. In this process you should seek counsel, and explore all the implications of that future state.
Next, you must build support for, or alignment with, that vision. This requires clarification, lots of discussion, being receptive to new ideas and being passionate about the value of the outcome.
Finally, you must put your plan into action, provide in-depth analyses, address the problems that will arise, and,as always, offer encouragement, motivation and praise.
Above all you, as the leader, must exhibit all the characteristics of trust, which are:
• Reliability: I do what I say I will do.
• Acceptance: who you are is okay with me
• Openness: I am willing to give and receive feedback
• Congruence: I say what I mean and mean what I say.
Then, when the vision has been realized the effective leader will share that success with his followers. It is a moment to share, and celebrate, the success that together they have achieved. I know of a corporate leader in Western Canada that celebrates the yearly success of his organization with the staff, by treating them to a weekend at a first class lodge – all expenses paid. An excellent acknowledgement of their participation in the team’s success!
The true leader is only as good as the combined strength of the total team. Success is shared success, and that only happens when the leader is willing and able to invest in the lives of his/her team members.
For further and more detailed information about this vital subject, please visit our website, DiSC and More: Work Of Leaders.
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