No doubt about it: leadership is challenging these days. Whether you are raising a child, coaching someone else’s child, directing a team to reach a common goal, or leading your clients towards their financial goals and objectives, the skills you need to navigate change – a leader’s, primary role – are themselves changing. Your business and career growth, in fact, may depend on your ability to embrace new leadership requirements.
Although often rewarding and challenging, leadership is rarely easy. It requires commitment; resourcefulness; a relentless passion for self-improvement; together with the ability to listen, learn and earn the trust of the team and others who rely on it – consistently and continuously.
As most seasoned managers know, leadership is actually not about you. It’s about the people you lead and whether they choose to follow you, or simply to do what you tell them to do. These are two entirely different matters, and they will have different outcomes. Your success as a leader depends on the choice the people you lead make.
A large part of that choice is driven by whether you are seen as authentic; that is, confident in your vision and your skills and comfortable in your own skin. For most leaders who are really effective with their teams, the courage to be authentic is the key to forging accountable results not just once, but on an ongoing basis, because it drives both strategy and culture. . .and you need both to get the results required.
Leadership requires a focused, accountable effort to persuade and compel others to work willingly with you towards objectives and goals that may be in flux. That’s the problem in times of great change. Most people don’t like change, but you have considerable influence on your team’s ability to embrace it.
Truly inspirational leaders can motivate their teams to accomplish the impossible. Whether that’s in encouraging people to embrace new technology or subject matter expertise, change their habits or understand their new roles in the organization, it’s important for the leader to passionately – and often firmly – convey that the status quo isn’t going to cut it.
Conversely, leader less committed to change can negatively affect the new outcomes his or her team is responsible for. In fact, whether your team respects or disrespects your vision will directly influence the success or failure of the goals you need to achieve.
Growing Your Business: Will your leadership skills produce a positive or negative influence? It’s a really difficult question to ask of oneself, and requires a special kind of courageous introspection. Great leaders do that, and it matters, because there are essentially two ways to get results: in the short term and in the longer term. That’s the subject of next month’s Growing Your Business leadership challenge: Compliance vs Culture.
Please be sure to let us know your opinion, as authentic, influential business leadership in times of great change this is the subject of our discussion this month in the Executive Business Builder Network.
Evelyn Jacks is Founder and President of Knowledge Bureau. She has twice been named one of the Top 25 Women of Influence in Canada, and has won the prestigious Rotman School of Business Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Evelyn is the creator of the Executive Business Builder Program, which helps small businesses acquire new skills required to grow their enterprises, and is the co-author of Get Your People to Work Like They Mean It.
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