Leadership Essay, Research Paper
The Laws of Leadership
There are certain laws of leadership that determine one s success in leading. If you violate or ignore them, then you will severely limit your effectiveness as a leader. These laws are the foundation of leadership, yet you will not find them in any university curriculum. These principles are best learned from experience. Once you learn the principles, you must consistently practice and apply them to your situation.
True leadership cannot be awarded, appointed, or assigned. It comes only from influence, and that can t be mandated; it must be earned. Leadership is about influencing people to follow, while management focuses on maintaining systems and processes. The best way to test whether a person can lead rather than just manage is to ask him to create positive change. Managers can maintain direction, but they can t change it. Hard work is required to gain influence in any organization and to earn the right to become the leader. If you can t influence others, they won t follow you. And if they won t follow, you re not a leader.
Leadership is developed daily, not in a day. To be an effective leader you need followers, and that always requires the development of relationships the deeper the relationships, the stronger the potential for leadership. Each time you enter a new leadership position, you should immediately start building relationships. Build enough of the right kinds of relationships with the right people, and you can dramatically enhance your leadership effectiveness. When you prepare well, you convey confidence and trust to your people. Thus, leadership is built of many components, which are equally crucial.
Building Loyalty and Trust
This article deals with the Leader’s necessity to have strong coalitions of support in order to ensure that his initiatives will be addressed with passion and vigor. Having strong coalitions of loyal supporters is also necessary to stave off the occasional political attacks from those who are less than delighted with the changes or initiatives sponsored by the Leader.
Trust and Respect:
Trust is the foundation of leadership. You don t build trust by talking about it. You build it by achieving results, always with integrity and in a manner that shows real personal regard for the people with whom you work. Leaders earn respect by making sound decisions, admitting to their mistakes, and putting what s best for their followers and the organization ahead of their personal agendas. Followers are attracted to people who are better leaders than themselves. That is the concept for acquiring respect.
The more leadership ability a person has, the more quickly he recognizes leadership or its lack in others. Leadership intuition is often the factor that separates the greatest leaders from the merely good ones. A leader has to quickly read the situation and know instinctively what play to call. Leaders see everything with a leadership bias, and as a result, they instinctively, almost automatically, know what to do. This informed intuition causes leadership issues to jump out. The best way to describe this bias is an ability to get a handle on intangible factors, understand them, and work with them to accomplish leadership goals.
People don t at first follow worthy causes. They follow worthy leaders who promote worthwhile causes. People buy into the leader first, then the leader s vision. Your success is measured by your ability to actually take the people where they need to go. But you can do that only if the people first buy into you as a leader. Leaders succeed only when their group has a unified vision, no matter how much talent or potential there is. This is true in professional sports and it s true in business. Momentum really is a leader s best friend. Sometimes it s the only difference between losing and winning. When leaders have momentum on their side, people think they re geniuses. They forget about the mistakes the leaders have made. Momentum changes people s perspective of leaders.
Establishing and Maintaining Priorities:
As a leader, you should spend most of your time working in your areas of greatest strength. If something can be done 80 percent as well by someone else in your organization, delegate it. If a responsibility could potentially meet that standard, then develop a person to handle it. Are you spread out all over the place? Or are you focused on the few things that bring the highest reward? Successful leaders live according to the Law of Priorities. This actually enables them to increase focus while reducing their number of actions. When you become a leader, you lose the right to think solely about yourself. Leaders who develop followers grow their organization only one person at a time. But leaders who develop leaders multiply their growth, because for every leader they develop, they also receive all of the leader s followers.
Part of Leading is making responsible decisions. However, many Leaders, especially those new to the role, become torn over trying to find the ‘perfect’ solution. They want just one more piece of data, just one more person’s opinion. This is all fine, but there comes a time when the decision must be made; taking action and making decisions at the Leader’s level.
Once you come to a responsible decision, carry it out without hesitation or timidity. Timidity is not born of healthy caution, but is the stepchild of fear. Successful Leaders do not worry about the mistakes they have made. They know that mistakes are going to happen and they are willing to live with the consequences of their decisions. People agonizing over a decision waste too much time because they re afraid of making mistakes. Great Leaders are decisive and courageous. Business success results from acting with vigor, decisiveness, and confidence; one must not grope nor hesitate. In deciding to move, there can be no vacillation or indecision. Any vacillation will result in greater expense, loss of opportunity, and general discouragement. Once decisions are made, leaders encourage immediate, vigorous execution. A Leader, above all, exhibits a cool head – that is, he objectively processes information and correctly estimates its impact on his situation. Two qualities must accompany coolness: The first is decisiveness; without decisiveness, other qualities are of little value. The second is intelligence: the leader should have a talent for turning every situation into an advantage, for creating unexpected, but appropriate, improvisation in the face of obstacles. Often, the right decision will not get the necessary support and you will be killed-off by the hidden or shadow politics of the organization. Build support early on for your initiatives before you announce or launch them publicly.
It’s not enough anymore to be named the leader; one must be anointed and accepted as the leader by the people they lead. This takes strong people skills. Leaders are open enough so that everyone around them can get to know and trust them. When you believe in people, you motivate them and release their potential; people can sense intuitively when a person really believes in them. Praise a person every time you see improvement. People will continue working, struggling, and trying if they have hope. Hope lifts morale, it improves self-image, it reenergizes people, and it raises their expectations. It is the Leader s job to hold hope high, to instill it in the people he leads. An effective leader must be motivating, rewarding, and create a nourishing environment; he must never appear aloof, distant, or disinterested.
LEADERS: Larry Bird became an outstanding free-throw shooter by practicing five hundred shots each morning before he went to school. Champions don t become champions in the ring they are merely recognized there. Napoleon Bonaparte is known as one of history s greatest Leaders. One of his leadership secrets was knowing the needs of his men. He first determined what his men wanted most. Then he did everything to help them get it; he knew this was a key to successful motivation. Napoleon often commented how amazed he was to learn that men would gladly risk their lives in pursuit of a simple ribbon or medal.