USP of a leader

An ambitious professional wants to scale new heights in his career and climb the success ladder. But at each higher step one is required to manage people and projects effectively. They say it is easier to be at the top but difficult to maintain the position. If a competent manager gives himself enough time to enhance his leadership skills and learn from mistakes, it will eliminate the fear of replacement and ensure him a smooth ride ahead. Good leaders stand the chance of making the most of what’s on offer.

The essence of leadership lies within the individual. A leader should have a clear and firm understanding of self, followed by the knowledge of his role in the organization and finally the strengths, weakness and limitations of those he is supervising.

A good leader is a combination of a host of characteristics. Leading does not imply having power and authority over a certain number of people and making them follow instructions, without being questioned. Power and authority have little to do with the role of an effective leader. Leadership is about having and sharing a vision. It’s about recognizing opportunities where others see failure.

Contrary to popular belief, leadership is not just about taking the tough decisions or challenging tasks; it is taking decisions. It involves thinking from the mind and from the heart, being a ‘stone figure’ is a failed attempt to be a good leader. It is important to understand every member of the team and inspire them to work to their potential in order to achieve the desired result.

The ability to make decisions is what sets a leader apart. There are times when a particular problem can be solved in a 100 different ways. Everyone will have an opinion on what should be done, but it is the responsibility of the leader to make that decision. A good leader will always stand by his decision and accept responsibility for any mistake committed.

The ability to keep himself and his team motivated is very important because it has a direct impact on individual and organizational productivity. For example there are times when people to put in long hours are needed, often without the promise of a reward. During such times, it is important to keep them motivated. Even if the situation is bleak, the leader should take it upon oneself to motivate others and see the bright side of the problem. An effective leader is one who leads by examples. When a leader sets certain standards, it naturally inspires others to follow path.

While it is important to maintain the change of command in order to implement certain decisions, a leader should never remain isolated from others. It is very important to be approachable. The team should look at the leader as a part of them, and should not be apprehensive about approaching him.

The chief cause of leadership underachievement is failure to adapt to changing circumstances. In modern times it is often fatal. As the pace of change has quickened over recent history the average tenure of CEOs has been declining, now standing at less than five years in the US.

The secret of leadership success is to be the right person in the right place at the right time, doing the right things.

First being the right person. We are all unique and different. In relation to leader ship the most important aspects of our identity are our personality’s abilities values and experience. Second, the right time and place means the nature of the organization and the unique challenges it faces.

Third, doing the right things means shot selection: choosing which elements from a repertoire of skills are needed to be deployed at any point in time.
Changing the situation means reforming structures and relationships. This is often the first act of incoming CEOs. They handpick their own team, reorganize and take other steps that make the situation their own. More dangerously, they often conjure an image of the challenge facing the business that matches their biases.

Leaders are challenged by a stream of unplanned events that demand reaction. The tendency is to fall back on instinct what comes naturally and what has worked in the past. This might work fine. But it might not. Because they are shielded from reality by direct reports who have a vested interest in maintaining a positive image of their parts of the business world and themselves as the people in charge. The result is an inevitable filtering. CEOs need to get out into their organizations to understand what is happening on the ground instead of being office bound.