What is Leadership Anyway?

Language and Communication are arguably the two most important necessities in human relationships.

Truly understanding what is being said!

Leadership is one of those words that is understood differently by different people. This potentially leads to confusion when there is discussion about it.

My first perception of what leadership was occurred when my grandmother, (who lived with us and had a great deal to do with my upbringing), told me what I should be doing and when she wanted it done by. Other similar examples of leadership then followed as I experienced trips to the air raid shelter. (I was born in England during the second world war). The leader of the shelter told everyone what they ought to do and when they could leave.

This was reinforced with school leaders and how they told and we followed. In my early conversation with my mother, I realised that this was what happened with the Leaders at work in the factory where she had been working.

It was their job to make sure everyone produced their quota. That nobody stole anything. That you arrived on time for work. That you didn’t leave work before you should. They were like minders. School Prefects. Keeping you honest. So much of this appeared to me to be a big power game. Where they actually enjoyed bossing people around.

I came to see that in fact this model was alive and well in business with so many of the Leaders that I observed and worked under following this model. I also came to see that this model of Leadership was what was deemed as Management.

As I grew and started in my working life I began to notice that there were others in similar roles who somehow had a belief that I may in fact have something to offer. They still kept a strong hand on what went on but they listened and were far more in tune with how everyone fitted into the process of working. There was a more friendly approach. In hindsight they were the Leaders who i felt began to empower me to begin owning the roles i was fulfilling.

By now I had started to read about what Leadership could be and had experienced specifically one person who totally empowered me to take control of the role I was fulfilling and set up a weekly meeting with me to talk about how I was going, whether there were any questions or requests and what I was working on for the next week. There was an intrinsic trust which in fact was an even bigger motivator than having someone watching me to find fault.

During this period of my work life I actually achieved some rather major improvements in the job I was doing. The level of Leadership I was experiencing inspired me to actually believe in what I was reading as it was not just “pie in the sky”, wishful thinking, but actually real.

I then read some of the material that was coming out about MBWA theory. “Management By Walking About”, and realised that I had been doing this very thing, asking people I worked with what they thought, felt about what we were doing. I moved into the “conscious competence” mode. Aware that I could consciously promote this style of Leadership.

A little later on I was fortunate enough to then be in a variety of positions where I was the “Boss”. At least I had many people under my care, one group as workers under my care (a period of 6 years), another where I was their “pastor” (a period of 12 years with 2 groups). I was able to put the style of Leadership I had come to believe in into practice.

During these times I focused my Leadership style, as I had come to express it, on empowering the people to own their journey and the tasks at hand. Once owned then to come up with the ways that they as a whole could see them moving forward.

This was slow at the beginning for many sat and waited till someone told them what to do, unsure, from past experience, whether they should express their thoughts. However, when asked what they felt was needed, and assured that it was okay to have a point of view some amazing ideas came forward, things I had never thought about myself.

Then affirming them and sending them back to facilitate those awareness’s themselves, some rather incredible things eventuated. I was leading groups who required little intervention at all, they were facilitating their own growth and creating the momentum that business owners would give their eye teeth for.

Leadership is not just one thing. It is a large variety of styles. Some styles are highly non-productive. Some are highly productive as well as low maintenance.

What is your Leadership style? Would you like to grow it? It could make the difference in your business. Rather than having an ordinary business you could have an extraordinary one.

If you would like to strive for the ideal and grow your style let me know. Just reply to this post.

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Posted on June 11, 2011, in Business, growing, honesty, leadership, Management, personality profiling. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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