Can anyone be a leader? The answer is, “No.” Not everyone can be a leader, either because not everyone has the capabilities required to lead, or everyone does not have the opportunity to be in a leadership position…..even simpler, every team, organization or business needs followers for the leaders to lead. In fact, our world is comprised of more followers than leaders.
That answer may seem very simplistic or insensitive. However, anyone who has the desire, motivation and opportunity can learn about leadership principles; everyone can study and understand the application of leadership. Each of us, including all who are not in leadership positions, should learn, practice and apply all that we can learn about leadership. Earning trust and respect, setting goals and mapping a course of action to accomplish the goals, building relationships, conflict resolution, motivation, accountability, discipline, and authentic communications should be high priorities for all of us to make part of who we are and how we operate in work and in life. Preparing to be a leader will make a person more successful and capable at the time when an opportunity to lead is presented.
As part of a team, as an employee in a business, as a member of a class in school, we all should strive to be the best team member we can be and practice the good principles of leadership at our level in the organization, so that our contribution to the team’s success will be maximized. By doing this we will prepare ourselves to be a leader when the opportunity comes our way. Prepare to lead with courage!
Is leadership still necessary in today’s high tech, cyber-world of instant multimedia global communication, social networks, texts, email, Skype, etc. and in exceptionally flat corporate management structures where unstructured collaborative groups seem more important than organized departments?
YES!!! is the very emphatic answer. Our working world is starving for true leadership. Many managers and persons in upper and higher level positions of responsibility do not have specific training or background in leadership, and therefore tend to confuse the use of IT and application of metrics for the application of true leadership. Too many upper level managers believe that their positions or titles give them complete control of the team members or employees under their management and that they are obligated to serve the leader’s needs and desires.
Every organization, team or group of people which is formed to accomplish some goals or to participate with success in business, sport, education, and daily life must have a clear leader to guide, support, influence, motivate the team to achieve the goals. People look to leaders for direction, support and encouragement as they do their best to do their part of the team’s work. Unfortunately, the very technological capabilities which have allowed us to communicate with others world wide instantly have also caused inordinate, unexpected, unproductive stress in our working lives. This ease of communication has resulted in unrealistic expectations of instant response to the each email message. Years ago, I personally managed a large portfolio for a company that unrealistically required its managers to respond to every email within two hours. The result of that directive was paralysis and loss of productivity, because the sheer volume of email messages caused managers to spend most of their time reading and responding to emails rather than actually doing the many real requirements of their jobs. Leaders understand that it is their responsibility to create and maintain an environment in which their teams can perform at their very best without unnecessary outside influences or frustrating roadblocks to project accomplishment.
Leadership is personal, involved, dynamic and practical. It is consistently applied to all areas of team interaction and effort to clarify and communicate the vision and to illuminate the pathway to accomplishment of the goals and support and reinforce the efforts of the team. Leadership is a continuous process which requires commitment and involvement of the leaders in the activities and well-being of the team.
Lead with COURAGE!!