Stripped Down Leadership

The amount of information and knowledge about leadership is now phenomenal and many people profess in writing  books and via social media to have the answer as to what effective leadership really is.So what is it.

I would like to strip it down to it’s bare essentials and build upon that in future articles.This may not be the definitive answer but in my experience as a soldier,businessman,police officer and father and husband the ability to apply one’s own principles in life is key to success. 

When asked by participants in my learning environments to consider a great leader and then define their qualities of leadership,lots of superlatives are captured, often filling two whole flip charts.Some of those words are passionate,understanding,a great listener,approachable and lots, lots more as you can imagine.Then when I ask them to say whether those leadership qualities apply to task or people skills,the answer is overwhelmingly people.

I would like to offer you three definitions of my own.

Transactional Leadership-is “the allocation of resources to task” – this is extremely important after all the ability of the leader to maximise the effective use of all resources to achieve the task and I include Human Resources in that equation is crucial.

Transformational Leadership– is “managing people through change” -is also extremely important, as the one inevitability in life along with taxes and death (  Benjamin Franklin 1706-90) is change.

Leadership – is therefore “inspiring people to willingly strive for common goals” and is a combination of doing both well.So why inspire? – I suggest that people who are inspired, own their own behaviour and require less coercion to achieve, they understand what is required to get things done and they will also inspire those around them.

Why common goals?  – I suggest that people do not always achieve the things they wish to achieve but in the striving lays an unquenchability of spirit that recognises how much has been achieved and learnt even in the face of adversity and what may appear to be a failure.This prompts the individual to ask themselves the question. How could I have done that better and what can I do to help others to do better next time ?

I shall build upon these themes in future posts and would welcome your feedback.

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