Everyone has an inherent leader inside them. This inner leadership may not be in business and finance, two areas that are more socially acknowledged. It may be in sports, social, beauty or in family matters. Leaders can arise in all areas of life.
People tend to naturally arise in the areas of their highest values or priorities. Although we all have a leader inside, unless we set our sails in the direction of our highest values, our leadership won’t emerge and become discovered by ourselves or others.
The role of leadership
Every business initially requires a leader to get it off the ground and fly. Without a leader there will be no direction and no momentum factor to start the ball rolling. Leaders give power to objectives and provide actions that others follow.
Even clients act as followers to the leader. The greater the leader, the greater the base of customers who will follow along the trail of innovation.
There are different types of leaders. Younger leaders are generally more speculative and aggressive or impulsive than the more mature.
Less experienced leaders often take spontaneous actions, and then discover the repercussions afterwards, but they have time on their side to learn by their mistakes.
Mature leaders on the other hand, with previous mentorship, have seasoned, trial and error experiences to draw on for their decision-making.
They tend to take more calculated risks and think out contingencies more thoroughly to assure their odds of success. They may be slower in growth but more enduring in outcome.
The most important element of leadership is the congruency between someone’s goals or intentions and their highest values and priorities, which when aligned allow the greatest creativity and productivity to emerge. Authentic original ideas and companies are born out of such congruency.
These visionaries are unstoppable. When leaders do not subordinate to the opinions of the outer world and stay true to what inspires them from within, they transform their outer world. They are new paradigm makers – not traditionalists who follow the norm.
The basics of leadership
While each leader is different, there are a few basic elements that all great leaders possess:
- The congruency between goals or intentions and highest values or priorities. This is sometimes known as integrity.
- Clarity of the mission to be accomplished which is also aligned with the needs of the market place.
- Clarity of the vision to be fulfilled.
- Clarity of the strategy of accomplishment.
- Identification with their mission and enthusiasm for their inspired action.
- Inspiring teams to participate in the mission and vision according to their team members’ own highest values.
- Quick decision-making and certainty of action.
- Listening to feedback and refining policies and procedures toward ever greater efficiencies and efficacies.
- Continued adaptability and innovation.
- Appreciation of the journey and continued expansion of the destination.
The behaviour of many leaders has been strange, even seeming to be counter-productive. Steve Jobs is one famous example.
Even Henry Ford was erratic in his way of dealing with people. In fact, great business leaders have come in every imaginable type. What is the factor that makes unusual leaders effective?
In a nutshell, they all harness some of the basics of true leadership. Their quirks add flavour to their personalities but their basics are still in place. They are still congruently committed to their outcomes.
They have no turning back mentalities and show their determined paths of adventure and refinement. They still calculate their risks, make decisions and take actions.
Though they vary in the other outer personas their inner drives are still intact and their unwillingness toward defeat makes them climb, tunnel or go around any and every mountain.
Their challenges are their sources of fuel and their obstacles are their stimulating companions. Look beyond the outer façade and you will still discover the core of the true leader as they drive their ambitions to the top.
The good news is that you don’t need to be a ‘born’ leader, it can be learnt or at least awakened from its slumber by setting congruent objectives and clarifying missions and visions according to the true highest values of the individual.
I have seen people who have sat stagnant for months or years awaken to their inner power and begin to lead by simply asking themselves the right questions and making the right associations.
Again, this goes back to understanding your own highest values. When you see how building a business can help you fulfill your highest values, or you choose a business path that aligns with your values, you will naturally embrace your own leadership capabilities.
No one works for the sake of a company. Everyone, consciously or subconsciously, works to fulfill their highest values.
Business success and leadership
Another question I’m often asked: Can you be successful in business without being a good leader? The simple answer is yes.
If you surround yourself with other leaders and create effective teams of specialists that are dedicated to your mutual goals and objectives, the business will be rewarded sufficiently to build momentum.
Some of the greatest companies have been built by individuals who had the savvy to hire great teams of specialists with knowledge and skills that exceeded their own.
They may have held the vision or initiated the new idea but they realised their strengths and weaknesses and allowed themselves to step out of the way of their ever emerging enterprise.
There are people who are great at ideas and then there are great implementers. They are often referred to as visionaries and detail people respectively.
Some of the most powerful companies have grown out of the combination of two complementary people and their talents. Hold the vision, gather the right players, build the team and win the game. But make sure that all are congruent with their highest values along the way.
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