Leadership, what it is? According to the Oxford dictionary, Leadership is a noun and is a state or position of being a leader – a leadership role.
And what is the meaning of being a leader in a company? I’m sure everyone agrees that a leader is different from a manager, you can be a leader without being in a managing position and you can be a manager without any leadership skills. The confusion between leaders and managers is normal, culturally the organisations were defined by strict top-down structures with multi-levels of decision-making without giving the opportunity to lower-level individuals to lead. An example is the study of Richard D. Lewis that shows that this still true in some countries where people don’t have voice power to express their ideas and approaches.
A good leader is made of actions independently of his role, and based on that it will be followed. You will not get followers and team members if you don’t take actions as an example. Teamwork is a collaborative action with the aim of delivering something defined as the promised result, and teamwork also means that you can lead by example using the help of others individuals – we are all in the same boat and just because you lead it doesn’t mean that you need to know everything. The most important thing is, to be honest with yourself, and if you don’t know how to do something ask for help and grow your knowledge, share the new knowledge and make this a step to the next stage of the journey.
Leadership is then a verb – not a noun – and as much you do it naturally, more you will enjoy and share during the experience. During my career, I found several individuals that were forced leaders, and by forced I don’t mean that the individual was forced to take actions that he didn’t want – I mean people that only take actions because they are required to and not because they thought about it – they are reactive, not proactive – and the problem with this approach is that task after task you will be seen not as a leader but as a follower, you follow behaviours because you are late in the process and you will be seen as someone that just want to show results – and the problem is that most of the results only happen at the end and the process of leadership is a learning journey.
Learning is overrated until you bring positive knowledge to the table. A good leader brings and explains the positivism of actions and avoids the justification of the actions, why? It’s simple. If your method is something that works you don’t want to lose time explaining to the others why you go that way and not the other – it’s easier to do it as an example and your time is money. Only when you experience something you see the benefits of it. How many times did someone tell you “Did you taste it?” when you say that you fancy some food? – well with this is the same, first, you try and then you can have your opinion.
The method used to lead is also important, and for that I recommend you to read the book Virtual Leadership by Penny Pullan – even if you don’t see as a leader or if you don’t want to be a leader this book will give you insight that will make your work more pleasant and gratifying. Penny explains in a different way how different cultures/races react to the same problem and how you, as a leader, can have different approaches to make the most of each individual. Simple changes that will make all the difference.
Any question? Drop me a message.
Also published on Medium.