Thinking Of a Role In Leadership? Part One
This post is the first of a two part blog series on you and leadership.
We all have different reasons and motivations for pursuing certain roles and today, the spotlight’s on leadership. In particular, I want to talk about leadership styles in the context of managing people.
For me, I absolutely love learning, personal development and pushing myself to see things through to completion so I recently completed a Diploma in Management & Leadership.
It was a brilliant course and I decided to enrol as I saw the qualification as an opportunity to really develop my understanding and skills in this area. I gained so much from the course, not least, improved management and leadership skills.
Add to this one-to-one coaching from my own, fantastic leadership coach and I’ve developed and grown so much in this area.
WHAT IS LEADERSHIP?
The term ‘leadership’ describes the level of inspiration, motivation, influence and other qualities an individual may possess that drives positive behaviours in others, in order to achieve goals or results.
In this sense, leadership isn’t something limited to a role or position in the workplace, it’s a skill and quality that can be used in all aspects of our lives.
Leadership also refers to the ability to establish an overall vision for an organisation and a general framework, or standard, against which a strategy is delivered.
The term ‘management’ which is something many associate with career progression upwards, may be used to describe the implementation of planning, direction, controls, processes, measurements or systems in an attempt to achieve goals or results.
You might have a few reasons for wanting to pursue a role in leadership or management. Some people view leadership as a natural route of progression once they’ve held a certain role, or have been working at a non-managerial level for any given period of time.
Others see themselves as natural managers and/or leaders and so wish to work towards a position that enables them to put these particular skills and qualities to use.
As an experienced manager and leader, one thing I wish I knew when I first started out is that leadership isn’t a tick box-exercise. In other words, if you genuinely enjoy supporting others and want to make a difference, it isn’t enough to have certain technical abilities
Effective leaders have certain qualities which, in a nutshell, are about who they are. Amongst others, it’s about essence, values and being able to effect change in a way that makes people want to do whatever it is that you’re asking them to do.
The best leaders show heart and they aren’t afraid to be vulnerable.
Whatever your reason for wishing to pursue a role in management and/or leadership, personally, I love to see women in leadership as I believe we bring a different dimension and also because, for so long, in many cultures it was believed that women shouldn’t be in positions of leadership.
Thank the good Lord that we now know better!
Successful leaders adopt a range of leadership styles, depending on a range of factors so if you’re thinking of moving into a management or leadership role, it’s a good idea to start by considering different leadership styles and looking at your existing style. Here are the three, most well-known leadership styles:
Autocratic – tends to make decisions without involving or consulting staff and is dictatorial. This style of leadership may result in unmotivated, unhappy staff and high staff turnover, however, may be appropriate where decisions are required urgently or where there is a need to challenge unwanted or unproductive behaviours in staff.
Democratic – seeks input from staff and values their contributions. Delegates authority to staff and allows staff the autonomy to complete tasks. This style of leadership may result in staff feeling greater involvement, however, the decision-making process may be delayed. A democratic leadership style may be appropriate the majority of the time but may not be a wise option where staff lack knowledge, skills and experience in order to fulfil the requirements of the role. It may also be an inappropriate style where quick decisions are necessary.
Laissez faire – enables staff to work as they please, with little or no direction from the leader/manager. This style of leadership may be appropriate where there is a highly skilled and experienced workforce however, there is a risk of staff losing focus and direction. This style of leadership may be ineffective where the workforce lacks the necessary skill, experience and knowledge.
Do either of these three styles resonate with you? There’s no real right or wrong style of leadership; remember, effective leaders mix their styles to achieve results, depending on the circumstances.
I hope this has been a helpful introduction to leadership, part 2 of the spotlight on leadership to follow later this week…