As organizations and the today’s ever and challenging environment evolve, they understand leadership is the most important thing in business training. Take a moment to think about the word leadership, what does it mean to you?
Leadership is a rich and significant word. It stirs a sense of idealism, excitement, hope, and courage. A word that inspires us to be our best. We normally associate leadership with the most influential people in history. However, it also conjures up memories of family members, teachers, coaches, and mentors would’ve influenced us to reach our full potential.
Leadership is exciting. Perhaps the most exciting element of leadership the fact that everyone possesses the ability to lead. It is not necessary to change the world over, or become a household name in order to be a great leader. Being a great leader simply means having a positive influence on those around you. It allows you to create an organization founded on ideals by which others are encouraged to rise above mediocrity and perform at their best. It does not matter if you lead a staff of two or a nation of millions; the principles are still the same and can be learned.
It is becoming more and more difficult for businesses, large and small, to survive in today’s marketplace. Each year 1 million new businesses are established and 40% fail in the first year, while only 12% survive in the first five years and amazingly only 2 to 3% survive in the first 10 years.
Why is the survival of business so difficult today? There are various reasons that can make your business vulnerable. Some those reasons are: the increase in the amount of competitors, the inability to understand your customers’ requirements or needs, not being familiar with today’s markets and your external environment, being undercapitalized, lack of business strategy and define goals or could just be your location, your timing, or poor or no leadership.
THE most important factor for sustaining long-term business success is leadership. Leaders have the power to make things happen and influence the organization. Leaders are responsible for all the factors including understanding customers in today’s markets and developing strategies to succeed in that market place. They provide the vision inspiration and direction to attract and motivate others to be successful and create the infrastructure – processes, systems and structure in which the organization can succeed.
“Leadership is the pivotal force behind successful organizations. To create vital and viable organizations, leadership is necessary to develop a new vision of what they can be and then mobilize the organization to change towards that vision.
The essence of leadership is to clarify and deliver compelling vision, how to translate that vision into reality and the ability to rally people behind that vision. People may have clear visions, but without the power to translate that vision into reality, they are not leaders. Translating the vision into reality has to do with motivating and gaining the support of others and channeling their efforts into a common direction. Leadership therefore is about vision and relationship.
There are myths about leadership: leadership is a rare skill, leaders of born not made, effective leaders are charismatic, leadership exists only at the top; and leaders control, direct and prod. We too often associate leadership with high visible and acclaimed figures such as Lincoln, Churchill and Gandhi but in truth there are numerous examples of leadership in our everyday lives, whether it be in coaching Little League, running a volunteer organization or leading a work team. For years debate has raged about whether leadership is innate or learned. The most accepted view today is that it’s both. Most people possess some leadership qualities, and can further develop their leadership skills. Some leaders are charismatic and others are not. There are many personality types of extroverts and introverts and both make great leaders. Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower both had been reported to having personality of “dead mackerel” but were still effective leaders. Leaders exist from every level in the organization, from the executive suite to the shop floor. Leadership is not defined so much in terms of formal position, but rather as a person’s act from clear vision that influences others to realization of that vision. Some leaders of controlling and directing in their approach however the most effective leaders of those who create enduring change by empowering commitment from within, rather than imposing control from without.
True leaders create an environment in which their people are motivated and committed. An empowered leader encourages brainstorming and feedback. The effects of their tactics are that goals are achieved by empowering employees to deliver new ideas and processes which are then formed, for example, a team working for an empowered leader takes personal ownership and pride in the work. The empowered leader believes that people can be trusted in such people succeed and do well at their jobs. They think they succeed when their team and organization succeeds.
Empowering leaders have a driving passion to realize their vision. They are egoless and humble, and build and sustain trust with their followers. Empowering leaders inspire the commitment and motivation of their followers. They are organizational and social architects and institute change through positive beliefs about people and situations. They are the cornerstone of every successful organization.