The Growth and Development of People is the Highest Calling of Leadership (Harvey S. Firestone)
Leadership is not for the faint-hearty, nor is it for someone who wishes to achieve quick results with as little effort as possible. For true leadership to develop within ourselves, we have to be willing to develop, learn, and to stay humble within the process, no matter how experienced or well-known we may be. The bigger the responsibility of a leader, the more relevant do these qualities become in his/her work. Humility does not mean that a leader has to knee in front of his/her employees, but yet humility remains one of the greatest qualities within a leader, often something that has to be learned through experience.
What else do leaders have to know, beyond remaining humble? Does leadership require anything, or is it just a title someone earns thanks to relationships? Oh, please forget about my previous sentence – leaders are never corrupted!
Although, a good relationship has nothing to do with corruption, yet leaders do know that managing relations does include much more than simply choosing someone for a role e.g. because of personal relations, especially if the role in question is in the public sector. In private businesses, leaders can always pick what suits them best, no matter if another candidate would be a better match, or, more qualified for the role. Budget also plays a significant role these days, although leaders ought to keep in mind that recruiting qualified talent may become less expensive (and give more ROI) than recruiting someone with less qualifications.
Nevertheless, every leader must know, and execute the following in her/his leadership:
- A leader must know how to prevent, and to manage conflicts in any circumstances
Our world has enough conflicts, small and big, and the responsibility of leaders is to learn how to prevent, and how to manage conflicts. This begins with knowing how to prevent bullying in general, which is a huge problem in societies. In Finland alone, the amount of bullying in schools and at workplaces has led to severe a consequence which is unacceptable. Conflict prevention also includes the capability of preventing misbehavior, gossiping, and other harmful behaviors that cause long-lasting mental health problems and costs not only for the individual, but also for the organization in question and for the whole society.
2. The role of a leader is to coach, and mentor, her/his employees, beyond other leadership duties and responsibilities
The responsibility of leaders cannot be underestimated. Nevertheless, organizations tend to hire and to recruit leaders who have no leadership education or whatsoever. Education alone is no guarantee for leadership excellence, yet, an educated leader has more understanding and knowledge about what leadership truly does signify. A leader who has spent time and effort in order to develop and to learn these skills within her/him, is more likely to be productive and generate desired results than a leader that has been recruited for other reasons, such as a lower salary request due to lack of skills, and education. A leader is someone whose responsibility includes coaching and mentoring her/his team in addition to other responsibilities.
3. Before leading others, know how to lead you.
Never take your leadership for granted, not even if you have led people for the past 10 or 20 years. A leader must always be capable of remaining enthusiastic, and if your leadership style is becoming tired and boring, you will have to ask for help. Even leaders need coaches and mentors to stay mentally and physically fit. In addition to REST, something that our contemporary society for some reason seems to underestimate. How can you lead others if you personally are dead tired and exhausted, physically and mentally out of shape?
4. Every Leader Needs a Coach, and a Mentor/Mentors
Leadership coaching, and mentoring, is no trend. Like some people want to hire a personal trainer for their physical well-being, leaders need coaches and mentors. If not for the benefit of learning, then at least for the benefit of exchanging ideas and thoughts, and in order to engage in dialogue. Too many leaders make the mistake of engaging too little in dialogue, and expanding their horizons through one-to-one, or group coaching sessions. How can a leader expect to develop, grow, and learn if not through her/his experiences, co-workers, employees, but also with the help of a coach/mentor(s)?
5. A Leader Must Know How to Build, how to Grow, and how to Maintain and how to Develop a Team
One of the most important skills of a leader is to know how to build, how to grow, how to maintain, and how to develop a team. Depending upon the team, the life-cycle of a team is never forever lasting, and this is something that a good leader can live with. Good leaders know how to keep their team members on-board, but great leaders know when it is time to say goodbye, and when a team member is ready for new challenges and new responsibilities.
6. A True Leader is Always Ready to Take The Blame, but Knows How Important it is to Give Credit to the Team
Leaders are always ready to take the blame for failure, or when something has simply gone wrong. Instead of blaming individuals in their team they ask themselves why something went wrong, and how the specific issue could have been prevented in the first place. When the team succeeds, the true leader is always willing to give credit to team members. And, a leader is always willing to give extra credit to her/his team.
7. Leaders Must Have Passion and Share the Values of Their Business/Leadership Organization
No responsible leader would take upon her/himself a role without truly sharing the goals, the mission, the purpose, and the mission of an organization. True leaders know the importance of believing in, and having a passion for the role they have been assigned.
8. Leaders Must Know When it is Time to Move on Personally
No matter how difficult it may be for a leader to leave a role, or a team, a leader must be willing to move on personally, tap into new responsibilities and into unknown waters, at the latest when they feel that the role in question has nothing more to offer them. People, including leaders, no longer stay in the same roles/organizations throughout their careers. Those who do, are exceptions and rarities rather than commonalities. Even entrepreneurs, or serial-entrepreneurs, know the importance of knowing how to, and when to, develop themselves further and take upon them new responsibilities.
9. Junior Leaders Can Always Learn from Senior Leaders
Junior leaders, however enthusiastic and energetic, should always be open to learning and developing with the help of senior leaders. Sometimes, junior employees, and leaders, make the mistake of having the need to impose all their knowledge upon others, including senior leaders, without having understanding about what, and why, they in fact do have much to learn and to gain from people with more experience than them.
I am not young enough to know everything (Oscar Wilde)
10. Senior Leaders Can Always Learn From Junior Leaders
Instead of getting upset or annoyed by besserwissers and “I know everything” attitudes among younger employees and leaders, senior leaders could try to tap into the mindset of their younger peers, learning certain things from the youth regardless of the fact that however fast technology is developing, seniors usually are very aware of their time. Technological awareness is more a question of personality rather than of age.
Awakening the Heart ~ by Thich Nhat Hanh ~ The Practice of Inner Transformation:
Thank you for reading, commenting, liking, sharing, and for listening to the wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh. Thank you also for developing leadership qualities in yourself, and thus becoming a change-maker in our society.