I’ve been reading a couple of books recently that centre around leadership and the qualities that make up a good leader, maximising the impact a leader can have.
Recent research apparently showed that managers within business believe that they are much stronger leaders in terms of the ‘people aspects’ of their role than the people they are actually managing.
It was an interesting statement I think, as I also know from experience that there are plenty of people being managed that believe they could do a better job than their own manager, in all aspects of the role not just the people side! I know I’ve definitely said the same thing when I’ve found my boss to be stifling, preventing my progress (in my opinion!) and generally of the old mindset of ‘knowledge is power’.
There is another point to this however, as in my mind I don’t believe that you have to manage a team or even one other person to be a ‘leader’ per se. Even if you’re not in a position of responsibility you can definitely lead others in their attitude to daily life, goals and ambitions and drive a more positive culture within a business for greater success.
Leadership is defined as “the action of leading a group of people or an organisation, or the ability to do this”. And in a Forbes article written by Kevin Kruse, he started with defining what leadership is not – it is not seniority or a position within a business, it is nothing to do with titles, it has nothing to do with a personality type or management; finally defining leadership as “a process of social influence, which maximises the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal”.
That definition fits in nicely with a book I recently finished listening to while I was running – ‘The Leader who had no title’ by Robin Sharma. It’s a fictional story conveying the aspects that he (and many others) believe to be the crux of becoming a great leader. The title says it all – you don’t need a title to create leadership or become an effective leader, but you do need to look at yourself to see if you offer the qualities that people will look for to be influenced and led in their own efforts to reach a goal.
The very top line elements within Robin Sharma’s book are:
- You need no title to be a leader – do you choose to act proactively or reactively to situations? Create the impact don’t react, be continuously learning and improving yourself, be trustworthy, have courage and stay true to your values.
- Turbulent times build great leaders – how do you react to change? Speak with candour, prioritise your focus, create opportunity, recognise good work in anyone.
- The deeper your relationships, the stronger your leadership – what is your contribution or value add? Really listen rather talk, network and engage, have fun and nurture people.
- To be a great leader, first become a great person – what do we believe is happening and what is the reality? Stay healthy every day, inspire yourself daily so you can inspire others, don’t neglect your family and friends and enjoy your journey.
Some pretty basic advice in creating a better you, however often elements that people struggle to realise or address on a daily basis due to preconceptions or beliefs of what a leader or influencer should look like or how they should act.
Another great book to read (or listen to) is The Slight Edge by Jeff Olsen – a reminder of how even small decisions made every day can have a compounding impact over time – whether that be for the good or not so good. Imagine choosing to eat green leafy veggies over an equivalent amount of Big Macs every day – I am sure pretty much everyone could see what the impact would be? And the same applies to our attitudes, how we engage with others and how we treat ourselves.
I would highly recommend that everyone pick one or two of Robin Sharma’s suggestions and apply it either to their business and personal life and see how things change over a short period of time.
I know it’s made a difference to the way I run my businesses and my home life – I’d be interested to hear your experiences too….