This week’s blog is courtesy of Ted Scott, a man Annette and Mario both hold the utmost respect and gratitude. For years he was their mentor and coach.
Please take the time to read this very eloquently written and insightful post on “Leadership”
It is important to understand how leadership impacts on organisations. This is despite the fact that leadership depends inexorably on the characteristics of the individual. Leadership is the most important interface between the individual (the leader) and the organisation (the collective).
Leadership is a reflection of our ability to be able to influence others, and we influence others in many ways – by demonstration, by persuasion but most importantly through the integrity of our being. Many who have assumed formal leadership roles in organisations believe all they have to do is command people and they will follow directions and the desired outcomes will be achieved. Unfortunately exhortation seems to be the least effective way of getting people to follow us.
Effective leaders must be able to envision desirable futures and communicate to those that follow in such a way that they become committed to pursuing such futures. Consequently, visioning and communications skills are essential for good leaders. This I have covered elsewhere in what I have called the Management of Meaning. In essence what I mean here is that human beings want to make a positive contribution to society. It is important then that organisations have goals that have societal benefits and therefore are more than just about making money. And then good leaders show how the individual contributes to such a goal. This makes work meaningful.
A Hay’s study some two decades ago examined a broad range of key components of employee satisfaction. They found that trust and confidence in top leadership was the single most reliable predictor of employee satisfaction in an organisation. Effective communication in three critical areas was the key to winning organisational trust and confidence.
Helping employees understand the company’s overall business strategy,
Helping employees understand how they contribute to achieving key business objectives,
Sharing information with employees on how the company is doing.
This I believe reinforces the importance of the Management of Meaning.
Indeed I have often said, “The prime tool of leadership is the Management of Meaning but the essence of leadership is the Mastery of Self.”
Effective leadership results from the security that comes from valuing what we are more than what we achieve, or to put it another way, to value the condition of our inner psychological/spiritual world more than the condition of our outer material world.
Effective leaders have a deep belief in the rightness of what they are trying to achieve. The integrity required to influence others can only be sustained over long periods of time where deep and abiding beliefs are held. This occurs where leaders have an uncompromising understanding of themselves and have come to a state of self-acceptance and desire the same degree of personal effectiveness for others. This provides the fundamental strength of purpose required to establish or modify enterprise culture.
What differentiates leaders from managers is the ability to influence others – not the ability to direct, to coerce or to manipulate, but the ability to gain the voluntary commitment of employees to the purpose of the enterprise. There is no comparison between the enthusiasm, dedication and productivity of a volunteer who has bought into the ideals and the vision of the organisation and a conscript who at best is a reluctant follower of orders. The volunteer has internalised motivation, whereas the conscript only contributes whilst there is someone directing them.