Publisher’s viewpoint

Lead, don't follow - find those who can move your goals


Who ponders the definition of leadership? Relatively few we suspect, especially as the phone rings, the computer pings and your staff and your account ask questions. There's really little time for introspection as we barrel through our daily grind.

It has been said that unless the executive manager, owner, or operator inside of any organization takes up the mantel and promotes the adoption of new technology in meetings, discussions, planning sessions, developing sales systems and sales incentives, new technology will never be adopted. In a nutshell that's taking a leadership role, right?

Someone has to lead in every organization to affect forward movement. If there is no leadership a company will sit idle which might be very comfortable, as long as nothing around you that impacts your success, is changing. Humans don't really seem to like change, although change is an inevitable part of life. The rate of change around us varies based on lots of things and what one needs to do to stay ahead of change is highly and energetically debated.

Likely, whoever owns or funds a company gets to set the rules although this does not ensure that they are a good leader. Often, owners pass leadership to others but if they're really serious about doing this, they empower this person(s), giving them the authority to affect results. We've all seen good executive managers with limited power and when the company doesn't get the desired results, they blame the manager when the problem was the lack of an executable plan. We've seen leadership assigned to friends or to reward people, not based on their leadership skills. We've seen natural leaders rise up and take charge with some companies rewarding this behavior to their best end results and others thwarting this behavior because they were threatened by a lack of control. And we've seen other organizations argue amongst themselves, with no leadership and no clear direction. To me, there is no winning the game with this particular process. We've also seen fabulous leadership drive companies to incredible success.

Webster's Dictionary defines leadership as someone who leads. Wikipedia has some collective thoughts from the masses on leadership: Leadership "is a process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task; "the ability to successfully integrate and maximize available resources for the attainment of organizational or societal goals; creating a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen."

Define it for yourself

Wikipedia argues that there are three styles of leaders: (1) authoritarian, (2) democratic and (3) laissez-faire. Authoritarian seems self explanatory. Democratic leaders confer and listen, making decisions with collective thoughts while the Laissez-faire leaders remain uninvolved in work decisions unless asked, does not participate in the division of labor and very infrequently gives praise.

The words leadership and success are intertwined although history recalls many leaders who took people right down the path of disaster. You can change your path or direction at any time. Step back and look at the plan and your desired outcomes on a regular basis, as it's pretty easy to get caught up in exactly where I started this piece--whether you are a excellent leader or not.