Leadership is the art of motivating a group of people to act toward achieving a common goal. Within business, it can mean directing colleagues, workers, and sometimes peers with a strategy to meet the business’, company’s, or organization’s needs.
Leaders play an important role in influencing the behavior of teams and individuals within the workplace and sets the direction for the organization or company and those who work within it. Good leaders tap into the knowledge and skill set of the team, pointing them towards a common goal while achieving results.
The best leaders not only provide direction and a strategic vision, but they also inspire, persuade, and encourage their employees or colleagues.
A leader sets the tone for the company or organization and is the captain of the team. I believe the old saying “there is no I in team” is important for me to remember as the leader of my company. No individual can work alone to accomplish everything. It takes a team to work collectively and to coordinate shared goals around the company’s mission and vision. A good leader sets the tone by creating two-way communication, influencing up and down the organization, and promoting teamwork. Something magical happens when a leader can transfer their aspirations and dreams for the company to others within the organization and, align them with each individual’s aspirations and dreams, ultimately elevating them to a higher level of performance and a collective accomplishment of achieved goals. “A manager says ‘go’ and a leader says ‘let’s go!” –E.M. Kelly
The terms leadership and management tend to be used interchangeably, however, they are not the same. While both leaders and managers have to manage the resources they have, a true leader must inspire those who follow them. I believe an effective leader is active, not passive.
As a leader, I feel it is important to always have a clear idea of where you want to go, how you are going to get there, and what success looks like once you have arrived. Being able to clearly and passionately communicate my vision to the team while providing each member with a roadmap for how their individual efforts will contribute to the company’s success is critical to the overall success of the company.
Some key factors I believe are critical to achieving success are:
- Challenge them to set higher expectations for themselves
- Making yourself available along the way for reinforcement of their efforts
- Continue encouraging the development of their potential with meaningful feedback
- Finding ways to celebrate their achievements even if it’s as simple as saying ‘great job’
I remember reading the phrase ‘leadership is a journey, not a destination’. It truly is something one must work at regularly throughout their life and career. I believe there are leaders among us regardless of what level they have reached in their organization or career.
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.”
-John Quincy Adams