Today we live in a modern world where change is the only constant. We are surrounded by uncertainty in our daily lives, whether it is personal or professional. It is important to understand that a leader has to be comfortable dealing with uncertainty and change. First it is important to understand who a leader is. At the most basic level, a leader is someone who guides or leads other people. In more detail, a leader is a strong individual who has a vision or a purpose.
He or she also has the skills and dedication required to see this vision through, guiding others to elieve in this vision and implementing the plan so that the desired result is achieved. The authors of Leading the Way look at seven angles or attitudes that make a successful leader. If these seven blocks are considered and improved, one is sure to be a more effective leader. According to Leading the Way, the two basic foundations of leadership are individuality and insight. It is vital to understand these before one can succeed at being a leader.
Individuality is ones personal identity. Who you really are, what you stand for, that is individuality. When it comes to leaders, one who displays a strong ndividuality be being himself or herself is a powerful personality who will be looked upto. Individuality means bringing ones personal experiences, values and beliefs to the table (Leading the Way. 40). It is good for a leader to have his or her unique style and to follow the values he or she believes in. Personal experience is one of the greatest strengths of individuality. Every individual has his or wealth of unique experiences.
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When a leader is proud of his or her individuality and displays it openly he or she is sure to be more effective. I am trying to implement this is my personal aily life by dissecting my own values and trying to see what makes me unique. I have found that I am a very open person, direct and emotionally expressive. I let my emotions guide me. This is who I am as an individual and has played a large part in my success as well as failures. Being emotionally expressive at work has helped my team understand my passion for my work that I love what I do and that has greatly benefitted me.
It has a negative impact on my relationships, so I am working on controlling my emotions to reduce emotional outbursts. I am a firm believe that it is lways better to be yourself no matter what. Ralph Waldo Emerson summarizes thus concept of individuality beautifully in the form of this quote: "To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment". The second foundation that is vital for a good leader is Insight. To the lay man, insight might simple mean understanding, or reexamining and then understanding.
Leigh and Maynard break this down into three parts self awareness, understanding others, and seeing what is going on. In order to be insightful, one must be aware of imself or herself. Knowing your strengths as well as your flaws, seeing yourself and understanding who you really are is insight. A good leader is one who is completely aware of himself or herself, the positives and negatives. In order to be insightful, one her strengths, weaknesses? Really understanding others is a tough skill to master, but if a leader tries to understand his coworkers he will be more liked as well as a much more powerful leader.
An insightful leader is also one who is aware of his surroundings and not Just looking, but "seeing" what is happening around him or her. I am trying to incorporate this in my daily life by questioning my own choices. I'm trying to understand why I do certain things, why I make certain decisions. Sitting down and thinking about my personal values, and the reasons why these are important to me has made me gain more insight into my own life. For example, I find that a value that is vital to me is trust.
When I tried to understand why its so important and my number one value, I have realized that being let down in relationships has made me form trust issues. I am also trying harder to understand and appreciate others. Doing this is actually helping me strengthen relationships with loved ones. The next important leadership capability that Leigh and Maynard talk about is "initiate". Being initiative means being proactive or action oriented. To initiate something is to start something or take the first step to begin something. This is a crucial quality that a good leader must possess.
To take initiative the right way, one must put in a good deal of time and effort into researching the material, forming a way to approach it. Taking the required risks to begin something new, have the determination to follow it through. A good leader is a risk taker, but he or she is also ready to take responsibility for his or her actions. A good leader is willing to be held accountable for both failure as well as success. The leader often must be the one instigating the task. He or she bears the major risk and should be ready to be accountable for it.
Leadership is a powerful position, and as famous people have said "with great power comes great responsibility', this entails a leaders role too. In my everyday life, I am trying to take more initiative by taking on new tasks, and following through what I start. Sometimes a big mistake I make is procrastinating. Nowadays I am trying to begin and follow through my tasks. To take on new things, the results I am getting are a huge boost in my confidence. My coworker is also impressed that I am getting so much more done and asked me what my secret is!
I have always been ready to face the results of my actions; so taking responsibility comes to me naturally. The fourth tool that a good leader should possess is the ability to engage and involve everyone to achieve the vision. A synonym for involve is to include. A good leader is an individual who engages his team, by empowering individuals. The leader makes the individuals feel valued and important. He empowers the individuals through programs to develop their skills and through coaching and mentoring.
The leader also receives constant feedback about himself or herself from people and improves his ways based on the criticism. When people feel important and included, then they are more motivated to deliver the best results. A good leader will work on engaging his employees. To incorporate this step into my daily life, I am trying to hear more opinions from people. Whether it was a team project I had for economics last eek where I was the team leader, I asked everyone for their ideas and we all worked together as a team. Respecting and gathering the opinions of others makes them energy to the task.
Inspiration. It literally means to be motivated or moved emotionally to be creative and get a productive task done. A good leader is one who inspires people. An inspiring leader is one who taps into what really is his or her personal motivation and passion. He or she is passionate and expressive. The leader should have a clear larger than life vision, and be able to talk about this honestly. This vision should be omething that reaches people. People should believe in this vision and find the leader is genuine and passionate. Communication is also a crucial key to be inspiring.
A good leader will have effective ways to communicate the vision and truly motivate people to believe in it and act on it. In my life, I am tapping into what own inspiration is. I find great sources of inspiration from quotes and success stories. I have started keeping a Journal of these inspiring thoughts and look at them when I need a push or motivation. "A good leader inspires others with confidence in him; a reat leader inspires them with confidence in themselves "- Anonymous. The sixth skill that a leader should possess is the ability to improvise.
Improvising means being able to adapt. In an uncertain world, a leader should be able to face changes head on and adapt to them. To make things and situation work by compromising and improvising. A good leader needs to be flexible, as nothing is written in stone. In changing trying situations a leader has to be flexible and find a solution with the available resources. A leader has to be creative and innovative, to make things work along the way. When stuck in a challenging situation the leaders ability to be innovative and encouraging will define the success of the organization.
In my daily life I find improvising difficult. When stuck with uncertainty, I am more focused on the problem than finding a solution. My goal is to try to improvise and work on finding solutions. Last week at work I had to file a report by the end of the day and my colleague called in sick. Normally I would have been worked up and focused on how tough it would be to accomplish this task alone. I tried to improvise by getting all the documentation done at work and then filing the report once I was ome so I could have it ready the next day.
The seventh key to being a successful leader is the ability to implement plans. Implementation literally means putting into action. In order to implement, one must be action minded with a can-do attitude. A plan must be formed and the leader must follow it through with persistence and dedication. Feedback is an important aspect of implementing and a leader should encourage and give helpful feedback. The leader must also track the progress of the task and make sure that it is going smooth. Don't worry that people don't listen to you, but worry that they watch you.
A leader should exhibit the model behavior that he or she receives from employees. The ability to implement and follow through is the only way to ensure success. I have started making sure that I follow through and complete any task I take on. I used to procrastinate a lot , but now I am trying on getting things done in a timely manner and also track the progress of my tasks. An individual who wants to be the best possible leader should really work on improving these skills. Leadership is a way of life. A leader really makes a change and dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. "
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