Basically, leadership is getting people to follow you. The moral and ethical considerations of leading are beyond the scope of this article, but their importance cannot be overstated. Unfortunately, much leadership is designed around a control/authority model. Many leaders, even the brightest, figure out what has to happen with things in the company, tell people what is needed for the desired results and then expect things to happen-a gross simplification of the process. You would be surprised how many leaders lead this way. In light of the psychological reality that people only do what they want to do, the current approach means that people follow and work only as hard as is necessary to avoid the consequences of disobedience. However, leadership can be a whole lot more than charting out a business strategy that others happen to follow.
The most skilled leaders ask themselves, “What can I say or do to get my followers to cause them to do what I need them to do?” The best leaders cause maximum follower ship. The art of causing follower ship is founded on a few deceptively simple principles. One of the most important of these is that people do what their minds and emotions tell them to do, not necessarily what the leader says to do. A second principle is that the follower provides the motivation. No leader can motivate others. They can only cause followers to motivate themselves. While this may seem like semantics, it is a subtle but profound shift in understanding true leadership. In short, the accomplished leader becomes adept at reading and feeding their followers needs in a way that optimizes the organization’s success.
Since leading is basically a psychological process and skill, leaders who learn and practice the latest in leadership technology will be much more effective.
And leadership skills, like management skills, can be learned and improved. However, learning the subtle technology of leadership requires dissatisfaction with the status quo, a belief that one’s leadership could be better. Learning leadership means facing the inevitable discomfort of hearing negative feedback, the discipline of trying new approaches and the awkwardness of new behaviors. Yet, the rewards far outweigh the costs. Releasing the energy and motivation of your followers opens new opportunities and inevitably results in bottom line improvements. It’s seen that productivity improve over 30 percent where an organization’s leaders focused on improving their leadership and its impact on the human system.
If leadership can be taught (and it can), it can also be managed. The most progressive and successful companies are managing leadership and leaders systematically as a strategic weapon. Of course, what constitutes good leadership is context and company sensitive. However, there are certain principles and models that will help you develop a robust leadership system.
The best leaders will also manage their own leadership by incorporating the three basic types of leadership – directional, implementation and interpersonal-into their thinking process. Directional leadership is strategic leadership. It is all about determining where the organization should go. Implementation leadership involves determining how the organization will make it to wherever it is headed. Interpersonal leadership involves the process of getting human resources behind organizational goals and objectives. You should integrate these three types of leadership successfully and holistically in a way that best serves followers and the organization.