Wednesday, May 22, 2024

The inconvenience of leadership!

You see these people are hard to convince, they are too slow to make things happen. These people are not responsive to change, you see our people sometimes present a challenge that makes it difficult to lead. These are some of the comments that you often hear leaders make, but whether you are leader or not the truth of the matter is that leadership is leadership. There are many inconveniences to leading people, and one of those is leading people the way they want to be led not the way you want o lead them. A leader must strike balance between leading his people his way and leading his people their way.

And with leadership comes the responsibility to do certain difficult things which ordinary people are free not to do but a leader has to do. For instance a leader has to make people believe, not by coercion but by choice. It his business to ensure that people believe in the mission of his organization and that they are not simply doing the things they are doing because they are told to do so.

The thing about leading people by directives is that very often it reduces smart people into unthinking robots who simply wait to be given the next set of directives to implement. On the other hand people who by choice believe in what their company represents embrace the mission of their organization. They lead by example and are not told what to do because they know what needs to be done to achieve their goals. They are generally happier and more productive than people who have to drag themselves to go to work dreading what they are going to be told to do next.

So the question then becomes what type of leader are you or would you want to be? Do not say that you are not in leadership position because leadership as already indicated is a choice not a position. Let me explain, while there are people who have leadership positions it does not mean that they are ready to lead. Often people use positional influence to get things done, but just because you have executive power does not mean that you should ignore the input or consent of those you lead. This however, is the most common mistake that leaders make, they fall back on executive power and as result intimidate and alienate the very people whose support is critical to their success.

So what are you to do? First of all put executive power aside and begin to relate to people as people who have families and a life. They are not cocks in a machine and neither are you. Once you begin to see people as people you will naturally begin to respect them and once you begin to respect them they will begin to respect you back. When they begin to respect you back they begin to exercise their imagination on your behalf. They no longer just implement your directives half-heartedly instead they feel free to experiment and make things happen.

This in turn results in a productive and high-spirited team. To become a great leader you have to use you executive powers judiciously. People already know and respect that you have executive powers, they don’t want you to consult them on every issue. Nor do you have to show them who you are or how much power you have. Just because you have power doesn’t mean that you have to throw your weight around, but yet this is a mistake that leaders make every day. Surely they also understand that you may have your own pet projects that you can only understand, however, they will help you succeed if you trust them and treat them as smart individuals who know what is best for them to do when they are required to do so.

Your primary duty as leader is to get things done through people, not just get things done but to get the right things done at the right time. However, if you tend to bark executive powers to your subordinates they will do just about enough not to get fired. They will do just enough to appease you. The same thing applies to all walks of life, if you tend to use your position as an adult or head of the household to dominate the household and bark at everybody then everybody is going to do just enough to appease you.

Of course it is not easy to engage people, to talk to them honestly and for them to be hundred percent honest with you. That is why people skills are so important. They are soft skills that address hard issues. So whether you lead a five – man team, a large corporation, a government department or a simple household everything rises and falls on winning the consent of those you lead. If you win their consent, you win their trust and if they trust you then they will be ready and willing to put their heads on the block for because they know that what you say and do is in their best interests. Often we think that just because we have power it means that the people we are charged with leading will trust us. Trust is not automatic and it is a mistake to take people’s trust for granted.

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