What is Leadership?
- Autocratic – Has to do with a totalitarian approach to leadership. This is more of an attitude than a leadership style. This leader demands instant obedience, no discussions from underlings are desired. This is NOT a desirable leadership approach.
- Free-rein – The opposite of autocratic. This is more of a “hands off” approach. This is a good approach when dealing with highly skilled and expert individuals (professionals). Some of the more “blue collar” type individuals actually do not desire a free rein approach. They are told what to do and when to do it at work, they almost expect similar treatment at church.
- Participatory – Typically the best approach. Group decision-making, multiple leadership. There is, however, a leader at the head.
- Person – The particular personality traits and leadership attribute the leader brings to the table. There are different personality types and individuals will respond differently and according to this personality depending upon his or her personality.
- Group – The question is: “What kind of leader does this group actually need?” AM I WHERE I NEED TO BE?
- Situation – Leadership is situational. We can take the same leader who was successful in one scenario and place him or her in another scenario and NOT have the same exact results. Happenings may be slower, faster, not at all. Rather than success, failure could be more commonplace. This could be related to any number of factors: geographical, cultural, social issues, political differences, phraseology, management approaches, leadership styles, etc.
- Leader – Really comes down to what a person is. He or she IS a leader. Generally a leader is one who has the ability to influence individuals to follow a particular direction or pursue a particular goal. John Maxwell, “Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.” Leaders are goal-oriented.
- Administrator – These are more result-oriented. They strive for order, to correct failures, and operate systems.
- Manager – same as administrator.
Leaders inspire people, but managers depend on systems. Managers attempt to adjust to change, while leaders attempt to produce it.
Leadership Check Up
A vital leader seldom waits for failure before appraising his or her leadership skills. These eight questions will help you evaluate your leadership strengths and weaknesses. You can then fine-tune your personal development program accordingly.
1. How and where do I have influence?
- Influence – not position or power – makes a leader successful.
- What is my current level of influence at work? How often do others turn to me for direction or approval? Do I see evidence of my influence both above and below me on the organizational chart?
- Who influences me and how? Remember, we often adopt both the strengths and weaknesses of those around us, so make sure you are not being influenced in a way that leads you away from your goals.
- In what new arenas can I extend my influence? It may be a new department, a new market or venue, a new partnership or alliance, or a new vendor or supplier.
2. Where can I improve my people skills?
- Someone can lead for a season based on position or problem-solving ability, but success in the long run depends on the ability to get along with and develop people.
- How can I improve my listening skills?
- How can I discover what motivates those whom I lead?
- Am I willing to ask more questions and get more input from others?
3. Do I have a positive outlook?
A positive attitude alone doesn’t identify a capacity for leadership, but a negative spirit will always diminish a person’s leadership potential. The ability to master my own emotions gives me a sizeable advantage during crisis situations. Never forget that a crisis situation is precisely when leadership is most noticed and valued.
4. Do I see evidence of growth in self-discipline?
- Am I disciplined in my use of time?
- Do I willingly delay gratification in order to achieve worthwhile goals?
- Are there any evidences of lack of self-discipline in my appearance or work habits?
5. Do I have a proven track record of success in my field?
Busyness is not an accurate indicator of success. Some people work like crazy and never accomplish anything. Past success is a key predictor of future success.
- What have I accomplished that I am proud of?
- Did those accomplishments include others?
- How does my experience relate to what I need today?
- Am I willing to put forth the effort again?
6. How are my problem-solving skills?
Many people are impressed with their ability to spot a problem. Identifying a problem is easy; just about anyone can do it. Leaders must solve problems. In fact, where there are no problems, there is no need for leadership. Problem solvers don’t dwell on what went wrong or who was to blame. Instead, they spend their energies on finding a solution.
7. Do I refuse to accept the status quo?
Growing leaders value progress over security. Not only are they dissatisfied with what is; they have a vision for what can be. The person who resists the status quo is willing to take a risk, be different, and pay the price for victory.
8. Do I have a big-picture mindset?
How often do you step back to maintain perspective, especially in the face of distractions or pressure? Keeping a sense of direction when the fog of fatigue sets in is a trait of a gifted leader.
Self-evaluation is not for the faint-hearted. An honest assessment by these diagnostic questions will make you aware of at least a couple of areas where you need to sharpen your skills.
The question is – will you?