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BW Businessworld

What Makes A Great Leader?

The big question is what kind of leadership does an employee’s boss or supervisor utilize? So it is critical that effective leadership practices are implemented through the entire organization

Engagement is predominantly created and driven by an employee’s immediate leader. It is this relationship that is the number one factor in engagement levels. An employee’s manager creates the bulk of an employee’s experience with the organization.

The big question is what kind of leadership does an employee’s boss or supervisor utilize? So it is critical that effective leadership practices are implemented through the entire organization, not just at the executive level.

Challenges 

The digital age has actually created more challenges for organizations. This is where real attitudes, mind-sets, beliefs and values are formed. Before the digital age, leaders and managers spent considerably more time in these interactions and thus were able to have more impact on their culture. With the advent of digital communication, leaders now spend considerably less time physically interacting with their teams. Consequently, culture has become much more difficult to change in this environment. It is imperative for leaders to spend more time with their teams if they ever hope to impact their culture.

Randy Slechta, President & CEO, Leadership Management International (LMI) said, “We have learned a great deal about what works and what doesn’t in developing effective leaders. The real key is that leaders are developed through a long-term process, not through short, isolated events or interventions.”

He further shared, “We have discovered that leaders actually develop in a series of stages or steps. There are four primary stages of leader development.

First is learning to manage themselves and manage their time and priorities. We call this personal productivity.

Second is learning to lead themselves. This means developing a personal mission, clarifying their values, creating a productive work-life balance, and building a trustworthy character. We call this personal leadership.

Third is the ability to lead, engage, empower, coach and motivate others. We call this motivational leadership.

And fourth is being able to lead an entire organization to success. We call this strategic leadership.”

Leadership development

It is like maturing as a person, you can’t skip a step. What is important is to develop specific leadership development programs around these stages so that leaders can master and progress though the four stages.

You can’t just create a master list of traits and start ticking them off. There is not one perfect mould for effective leadership. The real key is to identify where a person is now -what are their strengths and weakness -and then develop an individualised plan to maximize their strengths and to minimize their weaknesses.

Everyone can be a leader at some level, and every person needs to further develop his or her leadership ability. The four stages I mentioned earlier are really the only constants in this process. It is an on-going journey for all of us!




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