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Fostering A Great Leadership Environment
As top management, LEADING your people is the most important part of the roles and responsibilities you have to fulfill. Leading can be in terms of advising, teaching, deciding, directing or managing tasks. All these fall under the mantle of leadership.
Quality people are the most valuable resource of any organization today. And you must provide the most caring and inspired leadership to nurture, develop and retain this resource.
Leadership implies using every opportunity in order to inspire and attain excellence.
While each leader has a signature style of leadership, it is important that the leader be adaptable in response to different situations. No one style will work for all situations. If the variables change, your leadership style must adapt in response to them. Yesterday’s style may not necessarily work tomorrow but as a leader, your job is to adapt to the changing times. If you are too rigid in your style of leadership, the risk is that you will acquire a reputation for patterned behavior. So, even if you do find the ‘correct’ approach, it may be too late to salvage your credibility with the people.
A good leader is a caring leader – he not only cares about his people, he actively takes care of them. No amount of job pressure should prevent a leader from taking care of his people. In fact, it’s the leader’s job to help his people with the stress in their jobs or even the stresses they may face from external sources.
A good way to figure out the quality of leadership in an organization or group is to hear what people are complaining about. Every group or team will undoubtedly have some cribs or the other. This is not something to be regarded as negative – in fact, it is perfectly normal. The question is what the pet peeves are about. If informal discussions between team members largely focus on the team’s own internal issues then its time to look at the leadership and see what can be improved. On the other hand, if the irritants lie at a higher level, say the corporate headquarters, then it’s a good indicator that the leadership is satisfactory.
Another important way to assess the leadership quality is to see the participant interaction during sensing sessions. This will reflect the morale of the group or organization. Morale means how people feel about themselves which is a broad indicator of how the feel about their group or organization.
A good environment fosters cooperative groups. They feel free to openly talk about issues. They complain freely but also come up with solutions. Their body language and tone is upbeat and shows a basic satisfaction with the leadership. The very fact that they feel empowered to recommend improvements shows that the leaders are open to listening to their opinions and acting on their recommendations.
On the other hand, poor environments foster vocal and hostile groups. Such groups will vent their frustrations at any sensing sessions. There is a palpable feeling that the leaders don’t care or understand them well enough to solve their problems. In fact, the leaders are perceived more as a burden rather than someone who can help them.
Poor environments can also give rise to reticent groups comprising of people who hesitate to express themselves. It is quite apparent when you observe such a group that they have felt nobody cares about them for so long, they seem resigned to their lot. Reticent groups could also indicate a repressive leader who is intolerant of criticism and threatens to punish the ‘whiners’.
If there is a poor leader at the middle management level, good leadership at the top can help to alleviate some of these concerns. But the converse situation will not work. If a ‘wrong’ leadership style is being imposed from the top, even the most motivated junior leaders cannot compensate much down the line.
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