What is leadership?

| 2023-01-15 | Leadership Agile |
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A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.

Leadership can be defined as the ability to guide, motivate, and direct a group of individuals towards a common goal. It involves the use of influence, communication, and decision-making skills to achieve desired outcomes. Effective leaders possess a combination of personal characteristics, such as integrity, vision, and emotional intelligence, as well as the ability to inspire and empower others. There are many different leadership styles, including transformational, transactional, autocratic, democratic, and laissez-faire, each of which can be effective in different situations.

Examples of great leadership

There are many examples of great leadership throughout history. Some notable examples include:

  • Mahatma Gandhi, who led India’s non-violent independence movement against British rule through civil disobedience and peaceful resistance.
  • Martin Luther King Jr., who led the African American Civil Rights Movement in the United States through non-violent civil disobedience, activism and speeches.
  • Nelson Mandela, who helped end apartheid in South Africa and served as the country’s first black president.
  • Abraham Lincoln, who served as the 16th President of the United States during a time of great division and led the country through its Civil War, preserving the Union and ending slavery.
  • Winston Churchill, who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during World War II and is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders in history.
  • Steve Jobs, As a founder and CEO of Apple, he revolutionized several industries through his charismatic leadership style, creativity and innovation.
  • Malala Yousafzai, is a young activist who advocates for girls’ education and women’s rights, She survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban and became a leading voice for education and equality, particularly for girls and women.

It is important to note that change is a natural part of any organisation and change management should be done in a continuous process.

We need more leaders

There are a number of reasons why we need more leaders in the world. Some of the key reasons include:

  • Problem-solving: Effective leaders are able to identify and analyze problems and develop effective solutions to address them.
  • Innovation: Leaders are often the driving force behind new ideas and initiatives, and their vision and creativity can lead to significant advancements in various fields.
  • Empowerment: Good leaders inspire and empower others to reach their full potential and make a positive impact on the world.
  • Social and Economic Development: Leaders play a crucial role in driving social and economic development by creating opportunities for growth and progress.
  • Conflict Resolution: Effective leaders are able to mediate and resolve conflicts in a peaceful manner, fostering stability and cooperation.
  • Sustainability: With the increasing concern for the environment, leaders have the power to create sustainable policies and practices that promote the well-being of current and future generations.
  • Representation: Leaders from diverse backgrounds can represent and advocate for underrepresented groups, promoting equity and inclusivity.
  • In short, leaders play an essential role in shaping the world we live in and their impact can be far-reaching and long-lasting. Therefore, it’s important that we have a diverse set of leaders who can work towards creating a better future for all.

Taylorism is a thing of the past

The “Golden Age of Taylorism” refers to the period in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when the principles of scientific management, as developed by Frederick Winslow Taylor, were widely adopted in industry. These principles emphasized efficiency and productivity through the use of time-and-motion studies, standardized work processes, and the separation of planning and execution roles.

Since the Golden Age of Taylorism, there have been several changes in the business and economic environment that have led to the need for more leadership. Some of these changes include:

  • Globalization: The increasing interconnectedness of the global economy has made it necessary for organizations to be able to navigate a complex and rapidly-changing business environment. This requires leaders who are able to think strategically and make decisions that take into account the broader implications of their actions.
  • Technological advancements: Advances in technology have led to rapid changes in the way businesses operate and compete. As a result, leaders must be able to adapt to new technologies, harness their potential and lead the organization in the digital age.
  • Increased competition: Organizations today face more competition than ever before, both from domestic and international companies. This requires leaders who are able to innovate and make quick decisions in order to stay competitive.
  • Greater emphasis on employee engagement and empowerment: In today’s knowledge-based economy, human capital is a key source of competitive advantage. This requires leaders who can create a culture that fosters engagement, creativity, and innovation.
  • Greater emphasis on sustainability: Organizations today are expected to consider the social, economic and environmental impact of their actions, this requires leaders who are able to make strategic decisions that balance short-term and long-term objectives, and consider the well-being of current and future generations.
  • The need for diversity and inclusivity: As society becomes more diverse, it’s important for leaders to understand and respect different perspectives and cultures. This helps foster a more inclusive and equitable work environment, and can lead to better decision-making and problem-solving.

Essential aspects of leadership

  • The Importance of Authenticity: Authenticity is one of the most important characteristics of a great leader. Authentic leaders are genuine, honest, and transparent in their actions and communication, which helps to build trust and respect among their followers.
  • The Power of Emotional Intelligence: Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize and manage one’s own emotions and the emotions of others. It is a key trait of effective leaders, as it allows them to better understand and respond to the needs and perspectives of their followers.
  • The Role of Communication: Effective communication is crucial for leaders. They need to be able to clearly and effectively convey their vision, goals and expectations to their team. They must also be able to listen and respond to the concerns and feedback of their followers.
  • The Importance of Adaptability: The ability to adapt to changing circumstances is crucial for leaders. They must be able to quickly adjust their strategies and tactics in response to unexpected challenges or opportunities.
  • The Importance of ethics: Leadership also encompasses ethical responsibilities and a leader should lead by example in terms of integrity, honesty, fairness and responsibility.
  • The Importance of Self-reflection: Leaders should also be self-aware, continuously learning from their experiences and seeking feedback from others.
  • The Role of Diversity: Leaders should be inclusive and respectful of diversity, creating an environment where different perspectives and ideas are valued, this can lead to better decision-making and problem-solving.
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Stephan Huez

Stephan is the founder of Kollint. He grew as a leader the hard way and shares his experience with our clients.

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