Leadership 101 – part 1

General understanding of leadership tends to fall short of the ideal so we’ve adapted a previous article from Neil Crofts which summarises its key aspects:

Two key attributes of leadership

1 – Leaders initiate – Leaders do not need to know the answers, they do not need to be the creators or owners of the vision, they do not even need to know how to do things, but they do need to initiate. Leaders must take responsibility for making sure that the vision and direction are defined. Above all, leaders need to decide to lead, to take the first step – to not wait to be told what to do, but to decide to act.

2 – Leaders have followers – Having decided to act, leaders attract followers. Initiating something and failing to gather a team around it makes for a loner not a leader. A leader needs to take responsibility for turning a group or community into a team. A team is a group of people who support each other in pursuit of a common objective.

Two skills of good leaders

1 – Good leaders follow – After the initiation and team formation, a leader’s job changes. Once into delivery or execution this job is mainly to stay out of the way. They may become part of the team and support the delivery or they may be slightly outside the team ready to step in to support or to contribute learning for the next time.

2 – Good leaders are available – Leadership is a role in itself. Leaders cannot lead and spend 80% of their time being operational. Leaders need to be available to support or even substitute team members. They need to be tracking and working on team dynamics. They need to be holding the wider context and feeding that into operational decisions. Leaders are there to maximise the performance of the team and individuals within the team – not to maximise their own performance.

In ‘Leadership 101 Part 2’ next week we’ll take a look at the different styles of leadership that can be used to adapt to changing leadership situations.

Do you need to update your leadership skills?

Leadership 101 and much much more…