Leaders are the catalysts and organizers of high performance business. This simple statement makes the importance of leadership seem obvious, but there’s more to it than merely panache and decision making. Factor in the inevitable mistake, which can lead to a bad day, which can lead to a bad week, and suddenly leadership is all that lies between collapse and recovery.
So yes, leadership is of the utmost importance. Below I go into the details of situational leadership and the underlying importance of having inspirational leaders at the helm. For help building leadership across the board, this course on simple leadership tools for every team member can get you there.
Seeing Your Visions
The first function leaders serve is rather simple: they fill a vital position, just like a general in the army or a captain in sports. The sheer existence of a leader is psychologically important (you can get more information from this paper on the psychological dimensions of leadership by Russell Cassel).
The leader then becomes symbolic of a vision, which presumably he or she is responsible for conceiving. Indeed, a leader needs to be able to determine direction for the team and create visions of ambition and success. Other member of a team are always trying to replicate a strong leader, so pushing forward and representing important ideals is a way of generating constant inspiration.
The Art of The Plan
While having a vision is important, only rigorous planning can make it a reality. A leader possesses one of the most crucial abilities in business: how to set and achieve goals. This is one of the most commonly underestimated tasks and one of the reasons good leaders are so hard to find. Goal setting comes down to objectives, strategies and tactics, which all represent different time frames and different steps towards the greater goal. A leader manages all of these things and ensures that progress is on target and on time.
To learn more about goal setting, read this free guide on the difference between goals and objectives.
Communication And Relations
The human element of a leader can make all the difference. Sure, keeping communication lines open helps ensure that everyone is on the same page and that things are running smoothly, but it also levels the social playing field. A leader is not a distant king or monarch, but an intelligent, inspirational member of a close-knit team. Confidence is boosted and appreciation is deeply felt when communication makes everyone feel valued and, perhaps more importantly, integral to the success of the team. Any leader or team member would benefit from this course that offers 7 tools to communicate with tact and effectiveness.
While a good leader is capable of devising his or her own plans, there is also an awareness that other team members’ ideas can often be even better. There is plenty of evidence that employees ideas are often the difference between elite productivity and mediocrity. Just look at Google’s tactics, or consider the fundamental ideology surrounding the value, hard work and equality of any given employee.
Depending on the size and future of your business, you might even consider getting the help of idea management software, which is booming in popularity. You can learn all the basics and big players with this blog post on idea management software: what it is and who does it the best.
Motivation: Beyond Logging Hours
If you’ve ever been a part of a winning team, then you probably (hopefully) head plenty of talk about trust. Leaders motivate team members to trust not only themselves, but each other. Team members will not function to their highest potential is they are either worrying about picking up someone else’s slack or, worse, actually doing it. A leader makes sure that everyone’s contributions are equal, of comparable excellence and humbly advertised to help build trust. This keeps everyone focused on their work and makes them more willing to collaborate.
Check out this motivation course on team-building and quickly assembling high-performance teams.
Loosening The Reigns
The best leaders never rule with an iron fist; or rather, they never need to rule with an iron fist. Leaders command respect, which in turn allows them to give more freedom to their team members. The best work is done when micromanaging is not necessary and when a team is working freely and naturally under its own motivation. A leader keeps a team focused without imposing constrictive limits.
Finding And Growing Talent
Some of the hardest decisions a leader will make concern talent. The best choices tend to be those that are made without emotion, but this is easier said than done and against the ethics of many. Sometimes, growing talent out of an employee who shows potential is more important than constant hiring and firing. This class on coaching teams from the front provides 11 invaluable lessons for tapping into your team’s highest potential.
Leaders encourage stability by managing talent in a way similar to a sports coach “coaching-up” young or under-developed players. This takes a lot of work and time, but it is almost always necessary when introducing new team members or helping get everyone on the same page. This is especially true of sales and marketing teams.
Hopefully crises are rare, but even in the best of circumstances, the occasional crisis is inevitable. The truth is, that’s OK. What matters is how the crisis is handled, and that, of course, is where a leader comes in. Your team might be self-sufficient when things are running smoothly, but when disaster strikes, all eyes turn to the leader. Knowing what to do, how to keep calm and what steps to take toward recovery are all part of a leader’s job description.
Indeed, change is a part of everyday life in business and it can either be a leader’s strength or weakness. Learn to stay ahead of the game with this five-star course on dealing with resistance and thriving in difficult transitions.