What is Effective Leadership?
Effective Leadership means doing and saying the right thing to the right people at the right time. It means alerting others to possible problems and asking others for feedback before certain actions are taken. Leadership is a quality of relationship that carries authority, is personable, and has an inner directedness that seems to guide all thoughts and actions along a consistent and predictable path. A good leader knows how to share his/her vision with others in a way that builds mutual respect and trust.
Authority: The power of authority is often greatly misunderstood. Obedience is the “willingness to obey.” If we think about that for a moment, and ponder the implications of being “willing” to obey, we see implicit in the word authority a question. I translate that question as, “I believe I have a course of right action . . .will you come with me?” This is the leadership quality of authority. Authority recognizes equality and offers the choice . . .”Will you come with me?”
Because “authority" has the historical tradition of tyranny-as-power, efforts to empower employees often fall flat. The Leader must recognize the obligation and respect of true authority. With detachment and inner restraint, the voice of this authority can sway a thousand. But inherent in the respect that comes from others, lives a potential for tyranny the moment you exercise your authority. In companies that seek increased profitability through the empowerment of employees, this dilemma of mutual-respect and shared-authority often opens a Pandora’s Box. Empowerment cannot come from a pretense of mutual-respect and shared-authority. The top management of your company must learn to coherently walk-the-talk in thought, speech, policy, and action. If you don’t fully experience the same “fire-walk” you’ve prescribed for your employees, they will role-play the game same as you. Role-playing brings no financial gain, no competitive gain, no market gain, and no efficiency gain.
If top-management cannot commit to facing and moving into the new corporate era, the lack of conviction will be deeply felt by the employees. This will be even more pronounced if the employees are committed and actively working towards the stated goal.
Leadership: A born-leader understands human nature and gains dominion through instinctive action. The group pushes such a person forward because he or she is following the innate will of the group. The born-leader has a quality that unites thought and action as a single gesture, an exquisitely fine-tuned attention linked immediately with a reflex to initiate group action. The born-leader has an innate understanding of authority and it’s consequences.
A second sense of what lies hidden or invisible to others that sparks action before a crisis is able to develop is a vital quality of leadership.
Action-as-intervention must occur at the opportune moment if it is to be an act of empowerment. When the timing is off, “innovative” can quickly become perceived as “stupid” or “cruel.”
Leadership is called forth by circumstances. Leadership affects groups. When a person correctly rises to the occasion, the group falls in behind. And in that moment, the leader is vital to the group’s need for action.
Leadership that initiates gossip, doubt, or fear in the group is not leadership. It is an abuse of the group born out of the pseudo-leader’s need for action. Company systems that fully embrace Continual Improvement as a way of life, provide a wide avenue of opportunity for all employees to add value to the group process and gain positive recognition for positive action. The impulse to dominate a group is often born out of fear that some ideal or goal will be lost. And the act itself of domination turns the group's energy and attention away from the ideal of shared-vision. Obedience to a “machine of authority” then takes over the group-mind.
Leaders are the embodiment of ideas. What is always present is a vision -- a capacity to embody visionary ideas and be unafraid of ideas others carry. Through shared vision, an idea can become an ideal embraced by the group. Groups strive for shared ideals. The ability to join and transform an ideal into a proven-reality is what gets people moving.
Idealism is itself an immense power mobilizing whole continents of people. The person who carries this duty of leadership then becomes an instrument of history.
If your goal is to get people to add value to your products or services in a way that makes your company, and every employee in it, a leader, you must do so by adding value to the lives of your employees.
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ERP & Hoshin Kanri…
Profit-Ability Improvement... (¬Click here to see definitions)
Profit-Ability Management Principles... (¬Click here to see definitions)
People, Empowerment & Profit-Ability… (¬Click here to access articles)
Hoshin Kanri & Deming's Plan-Do-Check-Act... (PDCA) Cycle…