Happy Holidays to all! In light of the holidays, this week I’ll keep things short but hopefully still helpful.
We spend a lot of time in our day to day lives focused on managing our teams and for some, a byproduct of that is leadership. However, we all know that the best practice is the opposite approach, that we need to be leaders first, and manage as a result of our leadership. But why is leadership so important?
- Without leadership, no business will move beyond mediocrity
- To me, thinking of management as a facet of leadership is one way in which a leader can be well-rounded.
- To that end, you can never manage any organization to a level of greatness – you can only do this through strong and consistent leadership
- Leadership vacuums not only get filled by undesirable behaviors but undesirable imposters and power hungry brokers of discord – people who look only to advance themselves while climbing over the bodies of others
- A leader is like a map – most of the time you can figure out where you are, but without a map, you can’t find the best route to your destination nor will you possibly even know where your destination lies
- Organization culture will de-evolve in the absence of a leader and can lead to seemingly Lord of the Flies moments in meetings and teams with a leadership vacuum.
- True leaders are unafraid of letting others see their weaknesses and will make it clear to their team what those weaknesses are and that the reason they’ve surrounded themselves with their team is to account for those weaknesses
- Leaders act in spite of fear
So what are the differences between Management and Leadership?
- Management is about the what we’re going to do, leadership about the why, and transformational leadership is about the organization that is going to be and the how to get there.
- Transformational leaders create an inspiring vision that makes everyone go all in while providing a clear purpose and rallying cry
- For transformational leaders, perspiration is inspiration
- Motivate people to excel by leading them through example – be willing to take out the trash.
- Transformational leaders champion change by identifying when change is needed, formulating the plan, acting on it and inspiring their people to come along
- Managers know the situation at hand, as do leaders and transformational leaders, but at different levels. A manager may not be able to come up to a high enough level to see the complete picture or allow themselves to let the current state of affairs overwhelm them. Leaders will have a vision or where they want an organization to go – transformational leaders know not only how to get there but to make it rewarding along the way
A few ideas for how to move towards transformational leadership and a leadership philosophy:
- Lead by example: the leader has to get his/her hands dirty every once in a while; don’t ask someone to do something you are not willing to do yourself; embody the values you desire
- Know your people: get the right people on the team; don’t pull employees from what they do best
- Recognize, recognize, recognize: aligning recognition/rewards with corporate goals, constantly cultivate and recognize valuable people; recognize team excellence as well as individual excellence
- Create a rallying cry: encourage forward thinking; execute a single, defined strategy; provide intent, mission, and solid expectations and then trust in the leaders to continuously monitor results against vision
- Execution: accountability; meet with purpose; measure results; don’t rest on your laurels (past success does not mean future success); complacency kills; competitive greatness; develop a product you can be proud of
- Cultivate talent: retain and recruit the right people in the right seats and move the others off the bus; organizational growth through development of people; encourage necessary avenue for mentoring and coaching; develop high impact leaders
- Deliberate culture: intentionality; consciously work to develop and support a positive culture; communication; consistency; support divisions or dissolve them; run the organization lean; open door policy; top down and bottom up collaboration; positive attitude; respect towards others; balance innovation and change management; embrace positive conflict