Facts Every Leader Has To Know

Businesswomen Meeting. Freedigitalphotos.net
Businesswomen Meeting. Freedigitalphotos.net

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-know 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:

  1. A leader must know how to prevent, and to manage conflicts in any circumstance

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 to 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 reasons 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/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 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 wisdoms of Thich Nhat Hanh. Thank you also for developing leadership qualities in yourself, and thus becoming a change-maker in our society. 

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What is Leadership in Times of Adversity?

Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny (C.S. Lewis)

Has your life been easy? Easy in the sense that everything seemed to run smoothly, without you ever having to face any real adversity, or setbacks? Well, congratulations – you should consider yourself lucky. Or perhaps not? If life treats us too easily, and we always get whatever we reach out for without any effort at all, we do not experience the need for pushing boundaries, or having the need to struggle for anything at all.

Success is hard work.

Not everyone realizes this, especially those who can afford to live in mediocrity. Those who choose not to, and/or those who are forced to, due to e.g. geographical and societal circumstances, even because of family backgrounds, understand the true meaning behind the word struggle, and hard work. Everyone should have to work and make an effort for their living, but there are differences between the concepts of getting everything for free, taking things for granted, having to work hard, needing to struggle, and/or being forced to do something. The next time you want to complain about your personal situation – please spend a moment to think universally, and compare your life to those of others in different geographical locations on Planet Earth. If you feel like struggling, you may change your thoughts after comparing yourself to others. Useful or not, but a certain amount of struggle always brings out the true qualities of people. Have you ever had to struggle or not?

Why is it that countries which we call strong are so powerful in creating wars but are so poor in bringing peace? Why is it that giving guns is so easy but giving books is so hard? Why is it that making tanks is so easy, but building schools is so hard? We are living in the modern age, and we believe that nothing is impossible. We have reached the Moon 45 years ago, and maybe we will soon land on Mars. Then, in this 21st century, we must be able to give every child a quality education. (Malala Yousafzai)

Before responding to this question, please take some time to watch and listen to this inspiring and touching speech by the World’s Youngest Nobel Peace Prize Winner, 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan: http://bit.ly/MalalaYousafzaiNoblePeacePrizeSpeech Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist for female education, is known for human rights advocacy for EDUCATION, and for WOMEN. Today, she is regarded to be one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Advocacy for humanity, equal human rights for all citizens of this world, inspiration, and influence has nothing to do with either gender or age, but with our backgrounds, experiences, interests, spirituality, and things we truly care for. Not everyone has to be abused, exploited, or experience other suffering in their lives in order to become an advocate for change, and humanity – but often struggle brings out the true leadership qualities in people.

Develop Empathy. Always walk a mile in another person’s shoes before judging or criticizing anyone – as you never know what they may have experienced in their lives.

Thank you for taking the time to read, reflect, analyze, comment, for sharing your thoughts and for giving feedback, and most of all, for watching and listening to Malala Yousafzai’s Nobel Peace Prize video. I look very much forward to reading your thoughts, and receiving your comments.