Leadership comes in many different forms but they all are heading toward the same goal; and that is to communicate with people. Some people are silent leaders and lead by example some are more vocal. Nevertheless, whatever type of leader you are, there are certain criteria that must be met. For example being a good role model, being dependable, being trust worthy, these are all things that a true leader must possess. However, all leaders have their strengths and weakness and these are a few areas in which men and woman striving to become leaders often have trouble dealing with.
All to often leaders become over defensive and it beings to tear away at the seams of a cohesive unit. A little defensiveness is healthy self-protection…like your immune system. Excessive defensiveness will prevent you from learning from your mistakes after all, why do anything different, if all your mistakes are someone else’s fault? Feeling angry because of changes imposed from above? Attack the stupidity of your bosses and you will feel better! This move can be self-defeating if it stops you from understanding their rationale and coming to terms with your own resistance to change. If you have healthy self-esteem, you should be able to admit your mistakes if you have low self-esteem you will either be too hard on yourself for even small mistakes, or you will overreact and defensively never admit them! When you anticipate the failure of one of your projects, do you start telling people why it will fail? You are setting up your defenses in advance so you will not have to create them after the fact. Advance defensiveness can even facilitate failure. Some people will even sabotage their own projects, when they start to think they will fail, if they can do so in a way that ensures their getting off the hook. Recognizing and avoiding your own excessive defensiveness is not easy if you have developed a pattern of protecting a fragile self esteem in this way. However, you will not keep up with the demand in today’s competitive market to learn faster if you do not confront this issue for yourself.
Assertiveness- you may think you are assertive just because you rant and rave at times. Maybe you often give in to others, kidding yourself that you are just being reasonable. So how can you say “no” to your boss or others without incurring their wrath? Say “Yes, but”… and find a way to help others get what they want without you doing it! On the other hand,…you negotiate priorities. Which crisis do they want handled first? A flat “no” is always confrontational even if not expressed aggressively. Being assertive just means speaking firmly about how you feel about a situation. It is less confrontational to refer to YOUR feelings rather than the other’s behavior. The other party as an attack may experience arguing even if you speak gently. You can be assertive simply by asking questions making statements is more confrontational if you are trying to make a point, ask questions to lead the other party to your conclusions. Emphasizing areas of agreement before discussing differences defuses conflict and confrontation Assertiveness…getting the words and the balance just right takes a lot of practice. Practice works best with frequent feedback from someone you trust. You need to be assertive to keep yourself from sliding into burnout due to excessive stress. The benefit to you is control over your priorities rather than being driven by demands, you feel unable to manage.
Delegating-What’s the difference between delegation and empowerment? Empowerment relates to larger scale culture change it involves instituting a completely new way of working. Delegation refers to specific, one-off, decisions it means letting someone else make decisions you normally make Just giving someone tasks to do is not really delegation For a specific project, decision or period, someone is your delegate. The challenge is to give clear direction but not too much focus on the outcome expected. Be clear on the authority and limits you are delegating, is your delegate to decide just how to achieve a task, or is there to be latitude on what and when? What support does your delegate require? What recourse should be taken and under what conditions? What feedback do you require and how often? Ask open questions to verify understanding not closed questions like ”Do you understand??? How would you define a satisfactory outcome? Are you betraying your reluctance to let go by asking for too much reassurance?
Team building-Most organization reward individual success/accountability, making real teamwork extremely difficult. Avoid ”groupthink” by rewarding openness – thank people for bad news and for disagreeing with you. Frowning, scowling, and defending your own views will turn teamwork into conformity. Excessive use of authority, however subtle, creates ‘yes men’ (women). This is not to say that you need to accept endless discussion it is how you resolve disputes not whether you do increasing complexity = more specialists, = more pooling of ideas = more teamwork. The days are long gone when one person can call all the shots; genuine teamwork reduces isolation and makes change less frightening. Effective teams use a process to review regularly how they are doing, Team members contribute specialist knowledge, but they should be encouraged to be generalists in the way they behave in the team. At different times leading, enhancing harmony, generating new ideas Good leaders understand how team members differ in terms of their personalities and hidden agendas.
Effective Communication- Listen actively, asks open questions in an interested voice those not answerable by yes or no. Thank people for their openness; stress how much you value it, even if you do not particularly like what they said. Point to areas of agreement before jumping on areas of disagreement, this reduces defensiveness by letting the other person know that you agree in part, hence not attacking everything they said. Portray any disagreement as a simple difference of opinion, controlling your anger so as not to convey an “I’m right” – “You’re wrong” attitude. A negative reaction will strongly influence the other person – either to get angry back or say nothing next time. It is a well-known fact that people seek confirmation of their own views, so if you really want other people’s views, do not penalize them for not agreeing with you. Set aside your authority to create an atmosphere of partnership to reduce fear in subordinates, promote a culture of constructive dissent – though not to the point of paralysis.
Organization-What is the difference between organizations that learn and those that foster employee learning? The former has a risk taking culture that learns through trial and error. The learning organization is one that adjusts quickly to market feedback and employee development, however valuable, is not organizational learning. An organization that learns quickly is essentially entrepreneurial because it acts quickly, makes mistakes, improvises, and changes course ahead of the competition. Learning organizations introduce products quickly even if they are not “ready.? They then modify trial offerings based on feedback; such a trial and error process – (not strategic planning) – is the essence of organizational learning. Organizations that are poor at learning are bureaucratic and slow to adjust to changing markets. You can have a cautious culture; afraid to take risks that still foster employee development this is not a learning organization.
Entrepreneurial organizations are learners – they act fast, take risks and learn from Mistakes To create a learning organization, first focus on creating a more entrepreneurial culture Fostering continuous employee development is complementary to a learning culture. However, an organization can learn in an entrepreneurial sense without a lot of employee development. You could have a fast learning organization that continually imported fresh talent with little emphasis on employee development. This is not to downplay the value of employee development – just to clearly separate it from organizational learning.
Being a leader is never an easy task, and only a select few have the ability to lead. Not many people can take an organization, a team, or their local neighborhood and get them to work together toward a single goal. They have to be stern but at the same time sympathetic, they have to be able to delegate power without causing uproar. So many things go into being a leader that when everything is said and done, most people shy away from being a leader and feel as though they need to follow. However, that is the difference between a leader and a follower. When crunch time comes, the true leader will stand forward and guide his/her team, organization, or what have to victory.