“If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.” – Dolly Parton
Drafting a Definition of Leadership
Following the industrial revolution, there were 200+ definitions of leadership drafted, with most of them being positioned in accordance with a particular context, nature of the study, location, and cultural aspects of the study.
Prof. Richard Daft, an eminent researcher in this field, described leadership to be “an influential relationship among leaders and followers who intend real changes and outcomes that reflect their shared purposes”. Peter Drucker, an Austrian-American management consultant and educator, sought the true meaning of leadership when he said, “Leadership is not magnetic personality, that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not “making friends and influencing people”, that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.”
Regal Unlimited, after avid discussion and deliberation with a robust cohort of leaders, arrived at SIX key skills for managers & professionals in a bid to define leadership. It can be viewed as an ‘unwrapping’ of the acronym: LEADER.
The qualities specified here, REGAL UNLIMITED assure, help identify the true meaning of a leader and be relevant in everyday life. Reiterating the fact that these characteristics can be developed by regular practice, it takes time and effort to achieve this state of being. For more information and a detailed explanation of the LEADER acronym defined by Regal Unlimited, please read here.
Leadership Skills for Managers
While everyone prattles on about the need to be an effective leader, there are two poignant questions that need answers:
a) What are leadership skills?
b) Why are leadership skills important?
Ally MacDonald, in his editorial piece titled, “Six Ways Leaders Can Adapt to the Workplace of 2022”, published in the MIT Sloan Management Review, outlines the following list of leadership skills for managers:
1. Embrace Inclusive Leadership
Inclusive leadership refers to a commitment to ensure that all the team members are treated equitably and provided with the same opportunities to grow. It is making sure that people comfortably bring out their real self to the workplace, solely equipped with skills and sans fear of judgement. During these times, when members of a team are located across the world, virtually or otherwise, leaders ought to be aware of their own biases and actively seek different perspectives.
“The best innovation comes from inclusive work environments that foster diverse ideas, nurture people with diverse talent and backgrounds, and create strong relationships with diverse communities.” – Mark Parker, CEO, Nike. Inc
2. Cultivate Better Collaboration for Teams
The corporate arena is moving towards a hyper-connected and hybrid space demanding leaders to intentionally craft teams and networks to drive effective performance, innovation, and engagement. To avoid collaborative failure, leaders must focus on harnessing the synergies delivered through networks, with explicit attention to the pattern of collaboration, the quality of the interactions, and the effectiveness of the ties linking their teams to the ecosystems in which they work.
“Networking is not about just connecting people. It’s about connecting people with people, people with ideas, and people with opportunities.” – Michele Jennae, Author, The COnNeCtworker
3. Be Curious About What You Don’t Know – and Create Space for Dialogue
Organizations expect leaders to be problem solvers, coming up with answers and directing followers to do or not to do something. It is not possible for a leader to have all the answers. This calls for tapping the curiosity of the leader. In addition, crafting dialogue within the team requires humility and an insatiable curiosity about what we don’t see and know. Curiosity, coupled with a space for dialogue, leads to greater innovation & collaboration.
“At the heart of great leadership is a curious mind, heart, and spirit.” – Chip Conley, Founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality
4. Prevent Bias from Hindering Employee Growth
Everyone exercises some form of unconscious bias that causes them to categorize, compare, and make assumptions that reinforce their own notions and common stereotypes. Leaders commonly fall prey to proximity, gender, evaluation and associated biases. It is imperative for leaders to be aware of these biases (easier said than done)
“Stupidity and unconscious bias often work more damage than venality.” – Bertrand Russell, Nobel Laureate and social critic
5. Foster Respect by Building Connections
Respect is at the core of every human endeavour. It arises from an inherent worth, knowledge and skills. People expect that they receive the recognition their skills are worth. Leaders must recognize this inherent worth and honour it with suitable words, actions and behaviours that empower them as human beings. Only then, will followers reciprocate respect with the same enthusiasm and willingness that the leader commands?
“Eliminating active disrespect such as rude, insulting or devaluing words or behaviours doesn’t create respect. Respect is an action: we show respect, we act respectfully, and we speak with respect. Leaders need to know that the absence of disrespect doesn’t have the same positive impact in resolving disagreement, conflict or tension as does the presence of respect.” – Kelly Hannum, co-author of Leading Across Differences: Casebook
6. Empower Peer Coaching and Leadership on Teams
Leadership coaching has seen a drastic rise in the last two decades, primarily because of the colossal benefit that it entails. Coaching helps leaders accurately examine their weak points and gain a better perspective of their strengths and motivations. It is characterized by constant collaboration, support, and guidance. When the leaders approach a coach or become a coach themselves, they do not give away all the answers. They ask the right questions and embolden followers to seek the answers with their own efforts. When followers figure the way by themselves, they own the solutions, consequently building accountability and responsibility in the work they do.
“All coaching is, is taking a player where he can’t take himself.” – Bill McCartney, American football player, coach and Founder.
Regal Unlimited, the one-stop-shop for all managers and professionals seeking to become effective leaders works on two special fronts to help aspiring leaders move to a more resourceful state. One, it offers a curated compendium of practices that provide a direction for aspiring leaders and two, certified leadership coaches who assist aspiring leaders to ask the right questions and seek the answers themselves. Being in the business for more than a decade, they have aided several individuals to harness their innate potential and develop leadership skills important for life to become better versions of themselves.
Sign up for the extraordinary, personalized and powerful leadership coaching programme offered by Regal Unlimited and become the leader you always wanted to be! Schedule a 1:1 call with a Leadership Coach Subash CV
Difference Between Leadership and Management
Colloquial parlance has always considered leadership and management to be synonymous with each other. However, there is a significant difference between leadership & management, not only in their conjectural imports but also in the nature of the practice.
The first difference between a leader and a manager, or any position of authority, is that leaders see their followers as organizational resources and seek to inspire them while managers exert power and control over organizational titles by supervision.
A true leader empowers his team with honesty and transparency, appeals to the heart of the followers with their coaching style of leadership and thus, generates enthusiasm and commitment to work. Managers, in their predominantly authoritarian style, evoke fear in their followers: fear of failure, punishment and reprimand.
When leaders face a challenge, they strive to sustainably fix the situation as a team whereas managers lament the breakdown, blame the team and seek instant solutions. Leaders build accountability and responsibility in the team while empowering them with knowledge, skills and information necessary for that assignment.
The fundamental difference between leadership and management lies in the mindset of the person in power. A leader coaches followers to reach a more resourceful state. They tap into the true potential of the follower, support them to recognize their strengths and ask the right questions to support them to seek the answers themselves.
Working on a coaching mindset to beget extraordinary executive proficiency is an imperative skill for aspiring leaders in the world today. To comprehend the difference between leadership and management at a deeper level, in a more comprehensive way, check out the article on the same here.
Why Is Leadership Necessary?
Imagine a ship without its captain; a captain without the compass- One word: Disaster!
At the outset, like a compass that aids every sailor in finding the right direction. Leaders aim to scale the organization, to contribute and influence stakeholders acting as a liaison between the employees, customers and the society at large.
Second, a leader sows the seeds of purpose in the followers. A famed parable best explains this statement. A curious gentleman saw three stonecutters working on something. He approached the first person and asked him what he was doing. The first cutter brushed him off saying that he was cutting stone. The second cutter was considerably polite, saying that he was seeking a livelihood to support his family. The third cutter, however, had the most surprising of answers. ‘Sire, I am building a cathedral!’ His response reveals the mindset of one who believes in the unfolding of a greater purpose, more significant than individual motives.
Driving a larger purpose leads to leaving a legacy. Bill Gates, at the turn of the computing wave, remarked, “every desk must have a computer”. This ideal has, without doubt, revolutionized the way the world works now!
To understand the ramifications of the absence of good leadership, one could interrogate the employees of Blockbuster, Kodak and oops! – they don’t exist anymore! Toxic leadership can ruin the lives of millions!