Using a Clear Vision to Manage Effectively
Not only in business but in all areas of life, leadership will always be present. The principles that define leadership applies everywhere from public service to the military to education to science to sports to music and the arts. Regardless of the task that you want to achieve and whether that involves only yourself, leadership is imperative.
Especially in business, leadership should mean obtaining the best from people - managing them so that they are able to work with each other in the direction that is set by the leader. More and more as we have made our way through the 20thcentury and now into the 21st, leadership is recognized as a transferable skill - meaning, it can be taught. This notion has grew exponentially in popularity over the last thirty years as we've gone as a society from one man calling all the shots to a fast-moving, complex and much less hierarchical world where more people are wearing important hats than ever before.
Developing a Clear Vision
In order to lead effectively, you need a clear vision as to where your company is going - this includes anyone that manages even the smallest of departments; you need to create an objective or goal. This goal has to be understood by everyone that's involved in order for it to be accomplished.
When Bill Gates started Microsoft, he wanted to become the biggest software giant in the world. His vision was clear and effective. Sure, his plan took time, but we all know that by the time Gates stepped down as Chairman; his company had achieved that goal.
A good rule of thumb when you explain your vision to your employees or co-workers under your departmental finger is to have them write down your goal when you originally state it and make sure that it's repeated as much as possible. Make sure that no one forgets what the purpose so that they remain full steam ahead.
To be an effective leader, you must be able to communicate and understand that communication is a two-way process that consists of listening and exchanging messages. One thing that you don't want to do as a manager is do all the talking, while never listening to any of your employees. You want to know what their concerns, ideas and views are that even though they may not change the course of your company's business plan, but may in fact help steer you in a better direction.
You have to communicate and listen with daily consistency and a clear sense of purpose, regardless of how long a person may have been at the company.
Entrusting Responsibilities to Others
As a leader, you have to be able to entrust certain tasks to other employees under your wing. In general, delegation and risk-taking are intertwined because you pass on to someone else the ability to make decisions on your behalf. Being an effective leader means that you're able to hand off responsibilities to a person and support them when they make a genuine mistake. If you're unable to do this, you will have failed as a delegating leader because you have given no faith in that person to handle what you have assigned to them.
In order to be effective when in a position of senior management, you have to show that you are able to motivate other to do for you; not only what you can to do yourself.
Measuring Leadership Ability
When someone is promoted, it's not only for their work ethic and performance, but for their natural and demonstrative leadership and potential. Many times, companies promote people solely on skills but do not have the ability to lead due to shortcomings in personality, training or experience.
Any successful business must ask the following questions regarding their importance on leadership:
1.) Are you hiring people of that have strong experience technically with the personality required to lead in a senior role?
2.) When selecting candidates in interviews, is leadership a required topic for discussion?
3.) Will leadership training take place during the career for that person that you're looking to hire?
4.) Is leadership given a place of importance during an employee's annual review; especially of that person desires to move more into a management role?
Achieving Strong Leadership
There are four qualities at the heart of strong leadership:
The best leaders in the world are able to communicate their vision clearly, effectively and frequently. They are open to new ideas but, at the same time, they know the direction that the team and organization should be going to achieve their goal.