We have reached the end of our articles on Leadership. I want to summarise what was covered these past 16 weeks and I hope you all enjoyed the leadership articles.
Leadership is a process by which a person can direct, guide and influence the behaviour and work of others towards the accomplishment of specific goals in a given situation. Leadership is about using your most important asset (staff) to achieve the organisations objective in the most efficient and effective way.
Poor leaders can have a negative impact on employees and might even damage the company’s bottom line. Bad leadership affects a company’s ability to retain employees and lowers employee morale, motivation and productivity.
The problem that many poor “leaders” have is that authority comes from being the boss and far too often the boss does not have leadership skills and uses his/her authority to make people do what they say.
A leadership style is the way a person leads other people. There are many leadership styles and there is no right or wrong leadership style, but a leadership style can be used incorrectly with certain people or situations. It is important to understand that people are different and one leadership style does not apply to all people.
Being a leader is a quality you can nurture overtime inside you by having the self-awareness to know that you can always become better at what you do. When a person is striving to become more than just a business owner or a manager, they inspire employees to follow them.
Ethical leadership has to start at the top. The leader must set the trend. When the senior management themselves are implicated in wrongdoing, it becomes difficult to preach to the middle and entry-level employees about following ethical standards and practicing values.
Leadership and motivation go hand in hand. All great leaders are very effective at motivating their staff. Leaders must motivate their staff to feel they are of value to the business no matter what position they hold. Motivation is a goal-oriented characteristic that helps a people achieve their objectives. It pushes an individual to work hard at achieving his or her goals. An executive must have the right leadership traits to influence motivation.
It should be clear that the most successful business leaders understand that for a business to thrive they must unlock the true potential of their staff. These leaders see their staff as their most valuable asset and not as an expense that is reducing the business profits.
Leaders must be able to attract and retain talented subordinates and keep them motivated, and leaders must brush up on their people skills and emotional intelligence, as leaders are not born with the charisma to hold people. Fortunately, emotional intelligence with practice and carefully directed efforts can be increased. You should also remember that leaders are not born but have developed the skills required to be good leaders.
Leadership plays an important part in the success of any organisation. In the absence of effective leadership, no organisation or team can work efficiently. An organisation is created with the purpose of achieving certain objectives through a team of employees; it becomes essential to control this team of employees. It is ultimately the quality of the leadership that will determine the success of the organization or team.
Warren Bennis said-“The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born and that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born”.
The writer is a Kigali Based business consultant and strategist.
This article is part of a series on leadership by the author and will run exclusively on Business Times for the coming weeks.