Qualities Of Leadership - Online Article

Leadership, of course, is much more than "individuals and their decisions and acts." Leadership   as a quality may be more innate than acquired, but some qualities and characteristics can be  identified and consciously brought to bear during complex and difficult times like the present.

Constructive persuasion, talent assessment, leadership development, team building, and  organizational design will become the critical capabilities for leaders. In short order, the old  command model will become a rarity. One can already see this shift under way in the personal  leadership styles of Jack Welch and his successor, Jeffrey Immelt, the current CEO of GeneralElectric.

Of necessity, the capacity to lead change will become the most valued skill for leaders. They will  need an acute and fine-tuned sense for when to cannibalize their strategies, their products, their  channels, and their organizations, and when to ensure continuity and stability. They must become  adept at finding and developing talented missionaries to spread the new gospels and new visions.They must also learn how to protect and nurture the champions of change on their teams.

One of the hallmarks of effective leadership in this century will be the capacity to learn and  adapt quickly. Years of experience will no longer be enough—and, in some cases, may prove a  hindrance. The shelf life of knowledge today is simply too short. Instead, a winning characteristic of  the new generation of leaders will be its commitment to personal learning and the ability to  generate a “buzz” about learning throughout their organizations. The photographer Walker Evans’  advice to novice photographers—“stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop”—will prove sound counsel for today’s business leaders.

Senior executives are not the only leaders now charged with reinventing themselves. Powerful  forces are redefining the roles and activities of corporate Boards as well. Among these are the huge  numbers of mergers and acquisitions that require due diligence, the new focus by institutional  investors on the role of governance in under-performing companies, and the accelerating rate of  turnover among CEOs. These forces are placing enormous pressures on Boards to take a more active
  role in the day-to-day leadership and succession planning of the companies. These pressures, farfrom going away, are likely to increase.

As Boards become more proactive, they must grapple with a conflict between the two main roles  they are asked to play: Can a Board be a strategic partner with top management in formulating the  strategy and building the capabilities of the organization and still exercise independent oversight of  management? Some are experimenting with non-executive chairs and lead directors as a  counterbalance to the CEO’s authority. In addition, important shifts have begun to occur, especially
  in the increasing responsibilities of Board committees. Much remains to be done: Boards will need  to transform themselves for leadership, for talent management, for globalization, for e-commerce, forgreater accountability. Indeed, a great deal of reinvention lies ahead for leaders at all levels.

How would you describe a Leader and Leadership

A significant part of effective leadership is the close connection between the leader and the  follower, which often determines the success of the leader’s mission. Unfortunately, this leaderfollower  relationship cannot be created according to some simple formula. Young leaders of today  face special challenges as they try to communicate and interact with their followers and potential  followers. By exploring global perspectives, human diversity, and ethics, young leaders can take yet
  another step forward in their development and preparation for twenty-first century leadership. Globalization has many implications for leadership today and in the future. Global perspectives arebeing spread to the farthest points in the world and to the most isolated people.

People of different cultures come to the United States daily to live, travel, or engage in business.  Leaders must respond to this challenge of globalization so they can effectively reach out to as many  people as possible. Opening themselves to the world’s changes allows leaders to compare and  contrast their culture with the arts, language, beliefs, customs, philosophies, and ways of living of  other people. By observing and questioning another culture, leaders can understand the origin of an
  individual’s viewpoints and become more sensitive to the cultural needs of that individual. By  continually exposing themselves to other cultures, young leaders can thoroughly develop this global  perspective and devote themselves to making connections with the entire world.  On a more individual level, openness to human diversity plays a role in adjusting to the changes of  the future. People are discovering that even within cultures, individuals come from diverse  backgrounds, have different personalities, and prefer different ways of life. Young leaders can build a  stronger relationship with their followers as they enhance their own appreciation for human  diversity. As people become more diverse, leaders must learn how to communicate with them as  individuals if a vision is to be shared, a cohesive group to be formed, and a goal to be achieved.  Despite differences in opinions, the leader and followers can work together to complement each
  other as they move toward the mission of the group. By exposing themselves to all kinds of situation  and communicating with many types of people, young leaders can develop an appreciation of human  diversity. Conflicts caused by differences among individuals’ personalities and cultures have created  many ethical issues, and the number will only increase in this global society. Leaders may have an  especially difficult time facing ethical issues as they inspire followers to their mission.
  Globalization, human diversity, and ethical issues can be challenging for leaders as they prepare for  the next twenty years and beyond. The changing world calls for leaders who will react openly to the  introduction of new cultural identities and diversities and who will face ethical issues responsibly.  Developing a leadership style in response to global awareness, diversity, and ethics will give youngleaders an edge as they build relationships with people from all over the world.

Leadership Defined as

"Leadership is influencing people to get things done to a standard and quality above their norm.And doing it willingly."

As an element in social interaction, leadership is a complex activity involving:

  1. A process of influence
  3. Actors who are both leaders and followers
  5. A range of possible outcomes - the achievement of goals, but also the commitment of  individuals to such goals, the enhancement of group cohesion and the reinforcement of  change of organizational culture.

Effective Leadership as a Source of Competitive Business Advantage

Leadership is imperative for molding a group of people into a team, shaping them into a force  that serves as a competitive business advantage. Leaders know how to make people function in a  collaborative fashion, and how to motivate them to excel their performance. Leaders also know how
  to balance the individual team member's quest with the goal of producing an outcome that exceeds  the sum of individual inputs. Leaders require that their team members forego the quest for personalbest in concert with the team effort.

Role, Task, Responsibility, and Source of Power of a Leader

  • The role of a leader is to create followers.
  • The task of a leader is to bring about constructive and necessary change.
  • The responsibility of a leader is to bring about the change in a way that is responsive to  the true and long-term needs of all stakeholders.
  • The greatest source of power available to a leader is the trust that derives from faithfully  serving followers.

Learning to Lead

Effective leaders recognize that what they know is very little in comparison to what they still  need to learn. To be more proficient in pursuing and achieving objectives, you should be open to  new ideas, insights, and revelations that can lead to better ways to accomplishing goals. This  continuous learning process can be exercised, in particular, through engaging yourself in a constant  dialogue with your peers, advisers, consultants, team members, suppliers, customers, and

Leading others is not simply a matter of style, or following some how-to guides or recipes.  Ineffectiveness of leaders seldom results from a lack of know-how or how-to, nor is it typically due  to inadequate managerial skills. Leadership is even not about creating a great vision. It is about  creating conditions under which all your followers can perform independently and effectivelytoward a common objective.

James O'Tool, a noted management theorist proposes a new vision of leadership in the business   world - a values-based leadership that is not only fair and just, but also highly effective in today'scomplex organizations. It is based on:

  • Your ideas and values
  • Your understanding of the differing and conflicting needs of your followers
  • Your ability to energize followers to pursue a better goal that they had thought possible
  • Your skills in creating a values - based umbrella large enough to accommodate the various  interests of followers, but focused enough to direct all their energies in pursuit of a common  good.

Building Better Leaders through Attributes

Leadership attributes are the inner or personal qualities that constitute effective leadership.  These attributes include a large array of characteristics such as values, character, motives, habits,traits, motives, style, behaviors, and skills...More

Results - Based Leadership

What is missing in most leadership - related writings and teachings is the lack of attention to  results. Most of them focus on organizational capabilities - such as adaptability, agility, missiondirected,  or values - based - or on leadership competencies - such as vision, character, trust, and other  exemplary attributes, competencies and capabilities. All well and good, but what is seriously  missing is the connection between these critical capabilities and results1. And this is what resultsbased  leadership is all about: how organizational capabilities and leadership competencies lead toand are connected to desired results.

Positioning of Leader

Anyone who gets a leadership position has not made it. It is only the beginning. Being a leader doesn't make you one. After you get to be the leader of a group, you are going to have to do a lot to earn the acceptance of the group members and have an influence on their behavior.

To be a leader you have to be first to get into the mind of the prospect - and then follow the  strategies to stay there. The essential ingredient in securing the leadership position is getting intothe mind first. The essential ingredient in keeping that position is reinforcing the original concept.

Emotional Task of the Leader

Great leaders move people - they work through emotions. They have found effective ways to  understand and improve the way they handle their own and their followers' emotions. As a leader,  you should act as your group's emotional guide. When you drive emotions positively you bring out
  everyone's best. Your ignite people's passion, inspire the best in them, and create resonance. The key  to making this work lies in your competencies of emotional intelligence (EI): how you handleyourself and your relationships.

Coaching - a Vital Skill for Leaders

The new breed of leaders recognizes that autocracy no longer works, yet that employee  empowerment alone is not enough. The skills of coaching have lately been rediscovered by more  effective organizations and teams. You are cannot be a leader without a following, and you have to  delegate appropriately. The leader is best placed to enhance the performance and learning abilities,  on the job, of colleagues. Coaching aims to enhance these abilities. "It involves providing feedback,
  but it also uses other techniques such as motivation, effective questioning and consciously matchingyour management style to the coacher’s readiness to undertake a particular task"... More

Employee Self - Leadership - the Key to Success in the New Economy

Self-leadership is an extensive set of strategies focused on the behaviors, thoughts, and feelings  that we use to exert influence over ourselves. In the new economy, given the rapid change,  complexity, high-tech autonomous work roles and employee empowerment in the knowledge - based  enterprises, the new organizational structures are typically run by people who demand a different  kind of culture than the old command-and-control format. Today, people are better educated and
  demand from their jobs more entrusted responsibilities and opportunities for personal growth, not  just a paycheck. Talented and empowered employees are the prime ingredient of organizationalsuccess and they need to be able to lead themselves.

Super-Leadership - Leading Others to Lead Themselves

Super-leaders help each of their followers to develop into an effective self-leader by providing  them with the behavioral and cognitive skills necessary to exercise self-leadership. "Super-leaders  establish values, model, encourage, reward, and in many other ways foster self-leadership in
individuals, teams, and wider organizational cultures".

An important measure of a leader's own success is his success of his or her followers. The strength ofa leader is measured by the ability to facilitate the self-leadership of others. The first critical step towards this goal is to master self-leadership. If leaders want to lead somebody, they must first leadthemselves.


While leadership is always important to corporate performance, there is a growing realization  that effective leaders with integrity are absolutely crucial to successfully navigating the New  Economy of the 21st Century. In addition there is also a growing realization that the characteristics  of the Leader of the 21st century are dramatically different than the leader of the past, even the recentpast.

NLP Solutions: Pacing and Leading

Pacing is having the flexibility to meet another person in their model of the world, rather than  making them come to yours. Matching body language, voice tonality and words, and respecting  beliefs and values are examples of what NLP calls pacing. You need a strong sense of self to pace
others well.

Pacing establishes a bridge. Once you have that, you can lead another person to other possibilities. "By matching body language with an angry or upset person, for example, you acknowledge what is  important to him, so he no longer needs to insist on the validity of his experience and becomes more
  available. You then lead him to a calmer state by moderating your voice and changing your posture.  You cannot lead without first pacing and gaining rapport".

What is Leadership ?

  1. The easy answer: leadership is getting people to do things they have never thought of doing, do not  believe are possible or that they do not want to do.
  3. The leadership in organizations answer: leadership is the action of committing employees to contribute  their best to the purpose of the organization.
  5. The complex (and more accurate) answer: you only know leadership by its consequences - from the  fact that individuals or a group of people start to behave in a particular way as result of the actions of  someone else.

Three Levels of Leadership in Organizations

  1. Team: The leader of a team of people with clearly specified tasks to achieve
  3. Operational: The leader of one of the main parts of the organization and more than one team leader are  under one's control
  5. Strategic: The leader of a whole organization, with a number of operational leaders under one's personal  direction

Reasons why People are Willing to Follow their Leaders

  • Leadership is essentially about helping people to achieve a better life.
  • Leaders have vision; they are not just for themselves, they set a common goal and give  direction to their followers.
  • People are most willing to follow those who know what they are doing.
  • In difficult positions, leadership flows to the person who knows what to do in a given  situation ('situational leadership').

Four Competencies that Leaders Need To Develop

  1. Forming a vision which provides people with a bridge to the future.
  3. Giving meaning to that vision through communication.
  5. Building trust, "the lubrication that makes it possible for organization to work".
  7. Searching for self-knowledge and self - regard.

Characteristics of an Effective Leader

  • Gives direction, sets an example, and shares risks or hardship on an equal footing.
  • Wins respect without courting popularity.
  • Leads by example; practices what he or she preaches.
  • Listens with understanding; willing to discuss and solve problems; open to ideas; gives  time to listen.
  • Supports and helps; backs you up; is on your side; remembers your problem.
  • Uses team approach; helps group reach better decisions; facilitates cooperation.
  • Avoids close supervision; does not over boss; does not dictate or rule by the book.
  • Delegates authority; trusts group; relies on their judgment; permits group decision; has  faith in the creativity of others.
  • Communicates openly and honestly; tells you what he thinks; you can trust what he  says.
  • Brings out best in his men; has common touch with the workers.

An Effective Leader in a Hierarchical Organization Needs Two
Sets of Skills:

  1. Skills To Meet Organizational Needs - 
    • Behavior that motivates productivity and the achievement of group goals. 
    • Behavior that helps members reach goals: providing resources, planning,  scheduling, coordinating, problem - solving. 
  3. Skills To Meet Group Members' Needs - 
    • Behavior that increases group members' self-esteem and personal worth. 
    • Behavior that increases group cohesiveness and team spirit.

An effective leader cannot be only a "human relations specialist" nor only a "productivity specialist". He or she must be both.

Thought Provokers

  1. In what way are you a leader both at home and at work ?
  3. What influence do you have on those around you ? How does the influence you think  you have compare with the influence you really have ? Do you know ? How could you find  out ?
  5. What sort of a difference do you personally want to make in the world today ?
  7. What is your personal vision of the future ?
  9. How could you turn something that you consider to be currently hindering your personal  growth into something that positively enhances it ?

Leadership Vs. Management

A Huge Difference

Do you wand to be a leader or a manager? You need to make a choice as there is a hugedifference. "The world is full of managers and desperately short of leaders - real leaders."

Today's World Realities

The old ways of management no longer work and will never work again. The magnitude and  pressure of environmental, competitive, and global market change we are experiencing is  unprecedented. It's a very interesting and exciting world, but it's also volatile and chaotic. You
  cannot address these new challenges with more of the same management solutions - successfulchange requires leadership.

Psychological research has shown that "under circumstances of uncertainty or unusual challenge  and difficulty, people look for help in understanding questions about what matters, what to do,  what direction to take, and what they should not do. Providing people with the answers that help
them with these difficult questions is the essence of leadership."

Leading Change

Leadership is about getting people to abandon their old habits and achieve new things, andtherefore largely about change - about inspiring, helping, and sometimes enforcing change in people."While there can be effective management absent ideas, there can be no true leadership".

So, To Lead or To Manage ?

You need both. The old proverb says that leadership is doing the right thing; management is  doing things right. The difference between the two is not as sharp as the saying would suggest, and  both are required for effective corporate growth: leadership risk creates opportunities whilemanagement strictness turns them into tangible results.

However, "if your organization is not on a journey don't bother about leadership - just settle for  management", advises John Adair. "There is a direct correlation between the way people view their managers and the way they  perform."  Strong leadership is imperative for shaping a group of people into a force that serves as a
competitive business advantage".

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rob shoes on 2009-05-26 14:26:16 wrote,

quite insightful