Continued . . .
Communicate and motivate: Human beings have both a desire and need to communicate and be communicated with. You have to be able to listen to others as well communicate to them in a a language that is clear and which further inspires and motivates them. Motivation builds the emotional and physical energy necessary for the day-to-day battles of today and tomorrow. Quite frequently, people are not just motivated just by the pay checks they receive, but also by the the sense of and self-worth, recognition and empowerment they get from being part of a group that is on a worthy mission.
Serve as a role model: Serving as a role model within and even outside your organisation should come naturally from the things you say and do and those you don’t. As a role model for your orgnaisation, you should be true to your core values and the values and objectives of the organisation; you should be disciplined and maintain a positive attitude and resilience in all situations. But being positive is not some ‘make-believe’ show. It should be derived from a real understanding of factors and issues that still remain valid in the pursuit of your objectives. You also have to have a passion for what you are doing and what you want to achieve. You should be diligent in all that you do and demonstrate professional knowledge and confidence. That includes fully involving others and taking their wise counsel.
Serving as a role model within and outside your organisation involves being a formal and informal mentor to others. That way you can further ‘propagate’ your ‘leadership genes’ in others by inspiration.
Take responsibility: As a leader, you have to persevere when things aren’t working. Discuss and consider and options and then always choose the ones that keep you and your organisation true to your ‘core north’. Unfortunately, no matter, we don’t win all the time. Many battles are fought and lost. In such situations, you should take responsibility whenever you need to. Obviously there are times when others fail you and the organisation, and that should be identified dispassionately, isolated and treated as appropriate. Notwithstanding though, a common leadership trait is the willingness to take a little more than your share of the blame and a lot less than your share of the credit. Leaders are generally focussed on the results and not who gets the credit for it.
“No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it.” – Andrew Carnegie
Inspire and motivate others: Worthy and noble objectives don’t come cheap or easy. The organisations that pursues them will always face challenges and difficulties. Involving others makes it ‘easier’ to achieve the objectives. But what truly keeps people locked in the effort are the levels of inspiration and motivation that you are able to establish and maintain in them, as well as the support and direction that you provide. Outstanding leaders seize every opportunity to boost the self-esteem, confidence and morale of their people.
“If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” – Sam Walton
Inspiring your team involves doing everything a leader should do, such as being completely trustworthy; being passionate and competent about what is being done; rewarding and motivating their teams as well as expressing gratitude; impeccable communication. Over and above all, their vision is crystal clear.
Be disciplined: As a leader, you have to set the highest disciplinary standards in your organisation. Entrenching discipline will only be possible if you are personally disciplined. ‘Nemo dat quod non habet‘. Policies and modes of behaviour should be communicated and clear to all. They must also be fair and help in making it possible to achieve your organisational objectives. Entrenching discipline in an organisation makes it possible for everyone to go the extra miles frequently required.
Another challenge a leader must face is the fact that notwithstanding the crowd around, leadership can be a very lonely. Great leaders have the discipline to enjoy their own company and bear the emotional loneliness that comes with high responsibility.
See ahead, see the big picture and focus on it: We have already mentioned that an inspiring and effective leader must create a compelling vision. This is only possible if the leader is able to ‘see ahead’. Seeing ahead is dependent on what your objectives are and your prevailing circumstances. Once you are clear about what you have seen possible ahead, the next challenge is to focus on it by identifying and eliminating all the noise around.
It is very easy to get engrossed in the day-to-day activities. Leaders must however pull back regularly to ensure that they keep their focus on the big picture ahead. This is the only way they can make ongoing critical assessments intelligently and the necessary changes that might be required without loosing the vision.
I will leave you with two profound quotations about leaders and leadership.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” – Jim Rohn