In the words of Dwight Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States, “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” My idea of leadership is that it’s a combination of relations building and corporate management.
Traits of a good leader It can’t be assumed that people will follow a leader: followers have needs that must be satisfied by the leader or they will resist the management altogether. I think, character and tact are two things all good leaders posses. Tact enables them to distinguish good suggestions from bad and discover problems before they even happen. Character, on the other hand, is what supplies them the means to persuade the group members to perform for the task at hand, no matter how conflicting it may be to their personal views.
Leading a team is certainly no walk in the park. It’s your job to get different people that are driven by different preferences to work as a team. Not to mention, you must suspend your personal beliefs as well, if the situation calls for it, for the common good. Meetings and conference calls are activities that good leaders recognise as important. In my understanding of the concept, these are a must so that understanding among all the members of the group is ensured always, and conflict of interest, which can be detrimental to a project in progression or a task at hand if cast, avoided.
Change in leadership preference
Isn’t leadership about getting things done, no matter what it takes? One might ask. There’s now an increased preference for freedom in the realm of career. How a recent survey by jobsDB Singapore on flexible working hours has turned out is just one proof that a good majority of career professionals nowadays prefer a working condition of having limited restrictions, something that will give them the privilege to use trust as the main motivating factor to perform.
But although the concept of proper leadership has changed in recent years and democratic leaders are preferred by more employees nowadays, it can’t be denied that one needs to have some form of strictness as well in order to do well in a managerial job. And so, the challenge in the team lead jobs and manager jobs of today, I think, is that you must resolve on how you can balance being sociable but reasonable . To be the driving force of activity and at the same time the voice of reason during meetings. To be a figure of authority that motivates.
How companies respond to the needIt’s now natural for career workshops and training opportunities on leadership skills to also have modules on employee relations aside from business management and corporate ethics for this reason. Not that it’s becoming a fad, but the work world has changed and so are the views of working professionals on work life balance. Realising that it’s a great strategy for staff retention, through constantly noting recent studies by survey authorities and experts on the Singapore job market, companies are getting their managers as well as future managers attached to the benefits of transformational leadership, one which career author, Brian Tracy has defined as “what provides the emotional glue that causes organizations and the people in them to excel” in his Positive Expectations article. This article is also available on Career Advice.
Your challengeNow, let me ask you, what is your idea of leadership? What do you think is the best way to lead people? Are you on the traditional side still?
It’s never easy to balance things. Much more stressing if the required balancing act has something to do with yourself and how you prefer things to be done. So, are you up for this leadership challenge?
Learning is a lifelong journey, in the first place. To achieve effective leadership skills is to never stop on seeking for opportunities to improve. This change in the preferred leadership style by the majority is a great learning opportunity for traditional managers and senior executives. The essence is that learning happens when you get outside of your comfort zone, in other words, when you try something different.
On the other hand, it’s advised for management trainees and future leaders to realise the crux of this leadership style as early as possible in their careers. If your goal is to achieve professional advancement in your job, make proper use of every managing opportunity you come across, from something as simple as being assigned to lead the decorating committee for Christmas to a survey task. It doesn’t matter how big or small the task is. A portfolio of experience that illustrates a potential for transformational leadership is nothing, if not irresistible. Also practice the five basic skills of leadership, namely; people skills, time management, team building, negotiation skills, and decision making, daily in your work life to become a better leader. This makes for a win-win strategy.