“Wake up and smell the coffee”
Leadership is partly science. Leadership is partly art. A little bit of this and a little bit of that. Sounds like a rhyme but it’s not, entirely. In Organizational Leadership, Leaders can be measured and thus Leadership must be felt. I once followed a Line Manager who always said ‘let the followers follow you, don’t follow the followers’. It’s good to be close to your team but it’s crucial to be far from them. It’s a skill.
As hinted, a leader is one who’s close to the people yet far from the people. Not confusing, right. A leader must stay close to the team to coach, to train, to share, to care and to attend to the needs of the followers. When you are close to the followers, you can monitor them and when you are far from them, you can inspire them. When you are always close to them there won’t be any path to follow but when you far from them there is always a motivation to follow.
Being close and far with the team is to mentor and to lead the team. Munroe (2009) implied that leadership is an attitude. In simple terms, live it or leave it. !is rocks! Let me share this secret with you and promise never to tell anyone. There’s nothing to lose in leadership. There’s everything to give and to gain in Leadership. Empower followers.
Here, leaders must learn to delegate to the team and also invest time and resources on the team to build capacities and expose followers to new techniques and newer ways of getting things done. !ere is nothing like giving power to the ones who need them. Learn to give power to the followers so to gain influence. Build trust. You can build trust within a team when your vision is always clear, when you empathise with the team, when you are consistent in your deliverables and more importantly, when your integrity is untainted and unquestionable.
At the office, for example, delegate, promote, elevate, motivate, gratify, correct, learn from the team and develop followers. I mean grow leaders. Create a leadership pool. Give power to the team.
As a CEO of an institution, you don’t necessarily need any power to move any of the company’s vehicles around, for example. Yet a junior colleague needs your approval to move a certain vehicle around. This is because you have the power and the follower needs the power. This is the main reason why a leader must not focus on power because the leader has the power. As followers long for power, leaders must yearn for influence. !ere are many influencing tactics applied to balance the art and science of leadership.
Leaders must build trust within teams anytime, any day. !is gives influence. It may take time to build trust, nonetheless, it is the golden key required to solve leadership challenges. When you are trusted, you can easily mobilize the team to fix situations. Of course! Beyond trust is competence.
When you are trusted and you are competent it’s a beautiful experience as a Leader. With the right space, a motivated team, trusted system, clear vision, good values, sound objectives, realistic mission, good working strategy, and a structured organ, a Leader will be seen as effective. It is so because the Leader will be combining the expert and referent powers with a good balance.
Being effective is to show high concern for people and high concern for results. Don’t be interested in the position as a Leader. !at is the least of the levels in leadership development. Be interested in developing the next Leaders. Be interested in changing situations and fixing them. Be fascinated in keeping the clock turning and moving teams and organisations from a certain level to a defined destination.
Establish values and live it. Every follower does what the leader does. Leaders must develop the art and science in leading teams. Leadership is hard work. Leaders must simply wake up and smell the coffee. !ere is no walk in the park and tyranny is not sustainable in 21st Century Leadership!