What is Leadership?
Leadership is the ability of an individual or group of individuals to lead, guide or influence other group of people or an organization. Leadership entails; having a clear vision, ability to communicate the vision to team members, ability to organise in an effective and efficient manner, inspiring subordinates towards fulfillment of organization’s goals and balancing the conflict of interest of all subordinates and stakeholders. Leadership encompasses all spheres of life; family, political, management or economic.
Leadership requires skills although it can be learnt, improve through mentoring and coaching but it is more of a skill. The core skill of leadership is influence, in fact John C. Maxwell defines leadership as influence, how well you can influence your subordinate or situation makes you a leader: a leader is someone who guides or directs others.
Not everybody can be a leader, before you can be, you must possess leadership qualities similarly, all managers are not leaders, a manager will be regarded as a leader if they carry out the leadership role of management effectively and efficiently which include, communication, motivation, providing guidance, and encouraging employees to increase work input for better productivity.
Every organisation is established for a definite purpose and to accomplish this purpose, leadership must be set up. Therefore it is imperative to know and understand the importance and qualities of a good leader.
Importance of a Good Leader
- Providing guidance: Guidance involves training, instructing team members along the vision or goal of the organisation and ensures no deviation from the vision or goal even though it will warrants adopting corrective measures. It also entails the ability of the leader to give counsel that will allow team members to grow and develop.
- Encouraging creativity: Good leaders abandon their ego and give room for their subordinates to express themselves in order to encourage new ideas, innovations that can trigger an organisation to move into the new millennium. For instance, a leader may decide to stay away from a particular task, for team members to complete just to boost their creativity. Because creativity lies in every man but the mechanism to unleash it may be different and the leader is in pole position to unleash the creativity each member of the team possess, even if they are unaware of it.
- Motivation: Motivation is vital to achievement of an organisation. A good leader ensures team members’ energy is high to perform the job to their very best. An efficient leader motivates team members by building trust and confidence in them so that, they take a positive approach to the job and the organisation at large. Motivation is also achieved by creating a hitch free environment by building trust among team members so to enhance togetherness among the team members in relation to company objectives, rather than focusing on individual goals. Incentives also can be a medium to motivate team members.
- Communication: co-ordination of work in an effective and efficient manner requires excellent communication between team leader and team members. Communication involves exchange of ideas, information and messages between people at a particular place and time through speaking, writing or gestures. Effective communication is the bed rock to effective leadership and its essence is to create understanding. Rollo May, American psychologist comments, “Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing”. A good leader will be able to create understanding of the vision, values and direction of the organisation to the team members or individuals involved in the business in clear terms.
- Foster good values: Exhibition of good values is vital to the achievement of an organisation. A good leader will endeavour to foster good values among team members by exemplifying it. For instance, a leader that displays humility, integrity and kindness will serve as model for the team members to imbibe such character thereby enhancing the productivity of the organization.
- Conflict resolution: A productive leader manages conflicts that stand as threat to unity of team members, productivity and motivation. Conflict is best dealt with in the primitive stage therefore it is important for a leader to discern signs of conflict early before it escalate. However it is germane to understand that there are positive conflicts that may arise that require different approach. To resolute conflict a leader would have to evaluate the situation, develop a common understanding of the problem, adopt solutions and by agreement select a solution.Tools effective leaders engage to manage conflicts includes, Avoiding; not all conflicts can be avoided, Accommodating; in the interest of the team, a team member may need to step down, Compromise; one of the parties involved in conflict may need to step down, Collaborative; by working closely with the team a team leader can foster co-operation among team members and Forcing; exercise authority if deem necessary.
Qualities of a Good Leader
- Influence: The impact a leader has on its team members determines the exploit of team members. A leader by exemplification, deposit sense of hope, energy, morale, focus and feeling of accomplishment into team members thereby creating an enabling environment that is gear towards productivity.
- Communication skills: Good leaders communicate clearly both verbally and in written form in a way the team will understand the objectives leader must be able to listen actively and understand from the perspective of the team members, listening also includes observing the body language and other environmental signals. Effective listening empowers the leader to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the information.
- Delegation: A good leader knows the responsibilities to share and who to share it with so to improve productivity. Delegating certain responsibilities permit a leader to focus on more productive matters.
- Confidence: A good leader must be confident and must be able to instill confidence into team members. A confident leader does not waver over his decisions.
- Organisation: A good leader must possess exceptional organizational skills in order to coordinate company goals and objectives in such a manner that will enhance team members’ productivity. It also involves setting up parameters that guides team members towards attaining company aim and objectives.
- Negotiation: Negotiation is the process of establishing a mutually acceptable interest in the conflict of interests. An efficient leader must be able to negotiate indifference in interests of team members and establish a common interest.
- Unbiased: A leader must be unbiased in dealings with team members. Unbiased in rewards and recognitions also unbiased in disciplinary actions.
- Integrity: It is imperative for a leader to possess integrity. A good leader must show honesty at all times so to gain trust of team members.