Everyone Should Be a Leader

While we usually think of the leaders in an organization as being “at the top,” no great organization would be what it is without leaders at every level. Whether it’s a mail clerk expediting the delivery of a letter he recognizes as important or a VP going the extra mile to close the next big deal, leadership is important at all levels of an organization.

Being a leader comes down to wanting to make the world a better place, believes Helen Handfield-Jones, independent consultant on leadership and author of The War for Talent. “What does that mean? That sounds grand, but when people apply that idea to their work situations, it means having a vision of how your unit, or you as an individual, can be more effective and creative, go beyond day-to-day requirements, and energize others around that vision.”

The idea that a single, super-talented personality will guide and foster growth in an organization with out the help of others has been idealized in first-world cultures, but is not very realistic.

While it is true that such an outstanding personality can bring a lot to an organization no organization can thrive without team members from the bottom up who are willing to set the example and make it their mission to go beyond the base requirements of their office.

Why Everyone in an Enterprise Can — and Should — Be a Leader

Jody Victor: Alternatives to Directive Leadership

In most cultures today directive or autocratic leadership is considered to be outdated. Directive or autocratic leaders tell subordinates what to do and how to do it and the subordinates are valued for their ability to do things as they are are told to do them.

One issue with this style of leadership is that it is unlikely to maximize the perspectives and talents of each employee or team member. There are several other fairly distinct style of leadership that modern leaders are employing, however.

Consultative leaders seek and value the council of their entire team. While this type of leader is usually still task oriented, by including everyone’s ideas the team has the biggest pool of solutions to choose from when problem solving. A consultative leader is still directive in that they will make a final decisions and therefor stand apart from the team. A good example of this style is a baseball coach consulting with the pitcher and catcher about strategy.

The consultative leader might take their style a step further by becoming a participative leader and put himself on more even ground with his team by working in the group. Participative leaders will still need to be directive at times by moderating the conversation or setting down timelines for decision making. However, final decisions are owned by the group, not by the leader alone.

At the other end of the spectrum from the participative leader, the delegative steps back and allows the team autonomy. Again, this type of leader may to be directive when it comes to logistics, but will be a hands-off mentor figure to the group. Decision making may be owned completely by the team in this type of relationship.

Finally, there are negotiative leaders. This style involves offering incentives to entice his followers towards success. This type of leader is often fairly directive and values his own decision making as a leader. Unlike a fully directive leader, a negotiator often values ends over means, allowing individuals and teams room to try their own ideas. There is a long standing tradition of this style in sales in which sales people or teams receive commissions on sales.

Whatever alternative leadership style one adopts it will be necessary at times for a leader to step in and make some directive decisions, however choosing one of these alternative styles will allow a leader to get the most out of their team.

http://www.leadershipgeeks.com/directive-leadership/

The Value of Grit

As adults most of are both leaders and followers and regardless of our role we typically desire success for both ourselves and others. And while there have been thousands of studies conducted and many books written on the subject a “formula” to success remains illusive.

Angela Lee Duckworth, former high level consultant turned 7th grade math teacher and psychologist has been studying the idea of “grit” as related to success and has some interesting findings to share in her TEDtalk on education.

While Duckworth’s focus is on education, her findings and implied advice can be useful for anyone wishing to accomplish their goals.

Duckworth left a high level consulting career to become a 7th grade math teacher. In her 7th grade classrooms she noticed that IQ was not the best factor to determine which students in her classes would succeed and fail. She found that those students with “grit” (which she also defines as passion and perseverance) had the highest chances of success regardless of any other factor.

She left teaching to pursue a masters degree in psychology and to study the relevance of “grit” as related to success. She conducted her studies across many walks of life and found that “grit”—passion, perseverance, stamina, hard work, “sticking with your future”—was more important than social intelligence, physical health, good looks and IQ, which are all factors traditional considered to be very important to success.

You can listen to Duckworth’s TEDtalk here: