As a leader you may be asking yourself- “I signed up for this?” The answer is yes and many are glad you did. As a leader you have the talent, desire and disposition to lead others. You accepted this challenge and responsibility as a leader and your task will not be as easy. You will need conviction, courage and most importantly commitment to yourself and others to be successful. So what does it mean to be a leader and more importantly, what do effective leaders do differently? John Buchan states, “The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already.” If transformational- truly effective leadership- is to occur it is through developing the leadership in you and of those around you.
Truly effective leaders instinctively and intentionally live out their beliefs through their actions. Your ability as a leader to recognize and navigate through challenges will be the difference between systemic vs situational leadership. As a transformational leader you must have the courage to surrender positional authority and entrust leadership in others. This distributive leadership approach comes through empowerment, collaboration and shared accountability as the norm and expectation for all.
Every person in your organization has innate and learned leadership skills. As a leader you must have an acute awareness of each individual’s talents and leverage them for the benefit of the organization.
Be True to Yourself
A leader is a person who others naturally gravitate to and through this connection, improve the leadership and productivity of others towards completing the organization’s goals. A leader must have full awareness of staffs’ strengths, limitations and must have the courage to recognize your strengths and weaknesses as well. There is no doubt that you will be tested professionally and personally on every decision and action you take. Stay true to your personal and professional convictions and you will find others will invest in you and your leadership.
Put People over Processes
No organization will be successful until the leader surrounds the organization with talented and committed employees. Human capital is the most important asset to any successful and sustainable organization. This is also the most difficult area facing talented leaders yet absolutely vital to success- or failure. As a leader you are directed through policies, rules and expectations to follow certain processes. Processes are important. They provide a clear “road map” for others to follow to ensure efficiency of actions. Clearly understood and identifiable processes enable each person in your organization the ability to work more efficiently. Always remember your team will be expected to carry out the processes and your responsibility is to ensure they have every chance to be successful.
Have a Plan
Once others believe in your convictions and commitment to the organization they need to know you have a plan. Be specific as to the goals of the organization, have a distributive leadership framework in mind. Identify and explicitly lay out the steps to execute the plan. Once this is accomplished your team can visualize action. Be consistent. Others will invest in you when they feel convinced you are consistent in your belief structure and approach to complex problems. Transformational leaders set in continuous feedback processes and the flexibility to turn when necessary. If your actions are inconsistent it will create a discriminating environment of anxiety limiting or eliminating others to invest in your direction and leadership.
Ms. Seema Malhotra
PrincipalManav Rachna International School