Thursday, 24 May 2012

Quality 7 of a Great Leader

A Great Leader pays attention to improving oneself as a Leader

The biggest room in the world 
is the room for improvement.
Let's now examine Quality 7 required by a great leader, as extracted from an article by Business Link.

Leadership author Warren Bennis stresses the importance of ongoing self-development, and observes that being a manager does not necessarily provide the best foundation for being a leader.

"There is a profound difference between management and leadership, and both are important.  To manage means to bring about, to accomplish, to have charge of or responsibility for, to conduct.  Leading is influencing guiding in a direction, course, action, opinion.  The distinction is crucial."

In "Learning to Lead: A Workbook on Becoming a Leader", Bennis illustrates specific differences between managers and leaders:

  • The manager administers; the leader innovates.
  • The manager maintains; the leader develops.
  • The manager focuses on systems and structures; the leader focuses on people.
  • The manager relies on control; the leader inspires trust.
  • The manager has a short-range view; the leader has a long-range perspective.
  • The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why.
  • The manager has their eye always on the bottom line; the leader has their eye on the horizon.
  • The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.
Whether or not you agree with every one of these contrasts, it is apparent that distinctions can be made between management and leadership.  Self-development and training are thus of vital importance to leaders, particularly those coming from management backgrounds.

You might feel pressured to excel at everything, from leadership to the ins and outs of finance, marketing and operations. But Howard Schultz, founder of Starbucks, says that Bennis once told him that leadership relies on "your ability to leave your own ego at the door" and recognise the skills and traits required to build a successful organisation.  This admission helps to identify areas for self-development, but also allows you to surround yourself with people who possess the skills you are lacking.

Contact me at Nicholl Consultancy, if you would like to explore this further.

I look forward to hearing from you and in the meantime, be successful!

Kind regards - Sharon