Leadership is very different to management, and yet it is easy to consider them both as the one in the same. Management, is ensure processes are followed, reports are completed and targets are achieved. Management by Objective.
Leadership is enabling your people , to be the best they can be, helping to work with pride, feeling valued and adding value.
Leadership has nothing to do with seniority or one’s position in the hierarchy of a company. Too many talk about a company’s leadership referring to the senior most executives in the organisation. They are just that, senior executives. Leadership doesn’t automatically happen when you reach a certain pay grade.
Leadership has nothing to do with personal attributes. Say the word “leader” and most people think of a domineering, take-charge charismatic individual. We often think of icons from history like Winston Churchill or President Lincoln. But leadership isn’t an adjective. We don’t need extroverted charismatic traits to practice leadership. And those with charisma don’t automatically lead.
Leadership to empower others to self-organise. Providing clear direction while allowing employees to organise their own time and work is an important leadership competency. No leader can do everything themselves. Therefore, it’s critical to distribute power throughout the organisation and to rely on decision making from those who are closest to the work.
Leadership is Fostering a sense of connection and belonging. “communicate often and openly” and “create a feeling of succeeding and failing together as a pack” build a strong foundation for connection. We are a social species — we want to connect and feel a sense of belonging. From an evolutionary perspective, attachment is important because it improves our chances of survival in a world full of predators.
Leadership is showing openness to new ideas and promoting organisational learning. they encourage learning; they don’t, they dont stifle it. Admitting you’re wrong isn’t easy, and the negative effects of stress on brain function are partly to blame — in this case they impede learning. To encourage learning among employees, you must first ensure that they are open to learning (and changing course) themselves.
Leadership is Nurturing growth. Think of the people to whom you’re most grateful — parents, teachers, friends, mentors. Chances are, they’ve cared for you or taught you something important. Showing a commitment to peoples growth, will enable employees to be motivated to reciprocate, expressing their gratitude or loyalty by going the extra mile. While managing through fear generates stress, which impairs higher brain function, the quality of work is vastly different when we are compelled by appreciation. If you want to inspire the best from your team, advocate for them, support their training and promotion, and go to bat to sponsor their important projects.
These seven areas present significant challenges to leaders due to the natural responses that are hardwired into us.
Deep self-reflection and a shift in perspective (perhaps aided by a coach), there are also enormous opportunities for improving everyone’s performance by focusing on our own.