Max DePree’s view of leadership contains no reference to a team, or management. Leadership is an essential quality for all involved in the workplace. The qualities of leadership are important for team members, team leaders and managers. More and more organisations require leadership skills from individuals. They expect team members to find solutions to problems and carry out the solutions without close direction or supervision.
To Warren Bennis, an academic based at the University of Southern California, leadership is a skill which can easily be learned by the manager. Let’s clarify the differences.
|The Manager of the Past:||The Leader for the Future:|
|is a copy||is an original|
|focuses on systems and structures||focuses on people|
|relies on control||inspires trust|
|has a short range view||has a long range perspective|
|asks how and when||asks what and why|
|has their eye on the bottom line||has his/her eye on the horizon|
|accepts the status quo||challenges the status quo|
|is the classic good soldier||is his/her own person|
|does things right||does the right thing|
The dictionary defines a leader as ‘a person who rules, guides or inspires others’. By looking at different styles of leading you will be able to analyse how you yourself behave as the leader of your team.
Good leaders have the respect of the people they lead. People you have worked with who have gained your respect may have, for example:
- made quick, effective decisions
- treated all their staff equally, honestly and fairly
- had a particular expertise to share
- been willing to support you.
We expect leaders to achieve far more with their teams than merely to direct and control. Increasingly leaders are expected to build teams that are open to learning. Peter Drucker said that an organisation that has ceased to learn will cease to be. Key qualities required to build such teams are:
- leads with vision not tradition.
The team is aligned with a vision of what it wants to become. The vision is generated by the whole team and is inspiring and meaningful.
- the leader is a learner, not a teacher.
The leader is aware of self development needs and is willing to learn. The leader is not committed to the ‘old ways’ as being the only sound wisdom.
- focuses on process, not content
The leader seeks to get the process going instead of trying to determine the content of how the group works.
- enabler, not controller.
The leader doesn’t try to keep control, but delegates and leaves the team free to perform. The leader shares responsibility and the authority to act.
- coach, not expert.
The leader helps people learn and develop skills, they always expect more of people.
- linkers, not hoarders.
The leader shares information across groups and links joint projects. The leader spends time seeking information and linking the team’s work with that of other groups.
- emotional literacy, not technical skill.
The leader understands that change is difficult and that people have feelings that need to be supported. The leader is sensitive to the needs of individuals, finding ways to create co-operation and mutual benefit. The leader encourages resistant and ‘stuck’ team members to grow.
The deeper dive self-paced study module on leadership covers:-
- Leadership and trust
- Building relationships
- Leadership theories
- A summary and further readings