Ian Sanders On Leadership
Here’s a Leadership Freak welcome to guest blogger Ian Sander’s. Enjoy!
When I started out in business I thought ‘leadership’ was just what CEOs did – guys in suits standing at lecterns motivating staff. I soon learnt that leadership comes in different shapes and sizes; there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. When I was a rookie Managing Director at the age of thirty, I spent too much time strategising, communicating downwards; and not enough time just hanging out with my team listening to them. I certainly learnt some good lessons. Now there are so many great leadership role models out there. One leader I have a lot of respect for is Kevin Roberts, CEO Worldwide of Saatchi & Saatchi. Kevin’s style is about empowering staff to get on with the job in hand rather than trying to control them.
I was reflecting on what makes a good leader on vacation last week. Our flight to Greece was delayed, and we then had a detour via Athens and a five hour coach ride through the night. We finally came through the gates of the resort at 05.30 in the morning. Expected to be greeted by a night porter, we were surprised to see a team of thirty staff waving as we swept into the hotel entrance. The manager explained he wanted to demonstrate their empathy with our delay and inconvenience by getting out of bed to greet us.
The next day I asked a couple of staff how they felt about getting up so early. They all told the same story, that it wasn’t much of a hardship getting up early as their customers had been up the whole night. That attitude reminded me about good leadership. If in your business you can create a culture where your staff will get up at 5am for your customers, then wow – you’re doing something right.
Ian Sanders is a business coach, marketing expert and author, with twenty years experience in business: ten years in organisations and ten years working for himself. At The Ian Sanders Company, he acts as a ‘business potentialiser’ helping clients stay distinctive and effective. Ian is a stimulus junkie; he revels in soaking up and spreading new ideas, applying disruptive thinking to business and the workplace. He’s author of ‘Leap! Ditch Your Job, Start Your Own Business & Set Yourself Free’ and ‘Juggle! Rethink Work, Reclaim Your Life’. Ian writes a column on management for BNET.com.
follow Ian on Twitter @iansanders
Leadership is a journey, not destination, it is to empower the people than to get position. Empathy and integrity are the most important quality of a leader. Leader should sense and feel the needs of his followers. He should be complete, unimpaired and whole in terms of what he says and what he does. Followers should sense his presence even he is not present, and this is the real empowerment. Getting CEO is getting top in hierarchy and parameters to reach there may not conform with leadership attribute. Of course, when CEO, creates many CEOs and also empowers his team to dream and become CEO, it might be called leadership. People who believe in command are needy leaders and they need position and probably least concern about others. Those leaders who command, crash and those who empower, survive even in the toughest circumstances.
Leading people from the front and making them committed to own the responsibility with pride is the prerequisite quality of a successful leader in a competitive business environment. Winning heart of your employees through exemplary leadership style is the crux of developing a right organization culture to bring the needed customer delight with acceptable quality offerings.
A human touch with the required output driven motivation could be the prime responsibility of any business leader. Once achieved, it can help the leader to build task force teams with high commitment level to ensure the desired results. It’s a continuous process and where the leader has to be honest and fair to recognize and reward people for their good contributions.
The leader learns all these with his own experience and his penchant for driving the organization to achieve newer heights of excellence.
Leadership is a process which tend to give more than to take… The best example we can quote is of Mahatma Gandhi – a true leader. Leaders sense the pros and cons and give a rational viewpoint without a bias and that makes them a true leader.. Unfortunately today, leadership is acquired, attained by heritage, lineage, apple-polishing etc.. blackmailing commitment to the point zero, working for self not for organization…. and that what sustains today… Today you are a leader but with no admiration… nobody even your secretary like to keep you closer, relate a personal space with you…. you commoditized it for gain and in return you too became a commodity….the human resource that you sourced in has been a source of biting you at the back… I am unable to find today an inspirational leader whom I can follow… Can somebody suggest !!
It sounds like your experience with leadership has certainly been less than fulfilling. My opinion – every leader is going to face opposition and will have periods when it seems no one is listening. That’s the time to look into the mirror and examine our motives. If our motives are good and true, keep on keeping on. If our motives and actions point to ourselves, then it’s time for a change. Good leaders are servant leaders. You said it all when you referred to the “human” resource – we as humans can be very selfish. But, we as true leaders cannot. My advice is this. Look up; reach up; grab hold.
Dear Santosh and Sam,
I cant stop myself in expressing my opinion and feeling about leadership.
Santosh, you are right that today leaders look for position by hook or by
crook. For them end justifies means. They think they are leaders but in fact they are not, because the base of such leadership is selfishness
and greed and the motive is to get position, whereas leadership is not a position. Sam is right that best kind of leadership is servant leadership
like Nelson madela, mother teresa etc. We need selfless and sensititve
leaders who can emphathise the pain of others, but unfortunately we
have hardly few such leaders and majority look for position. So the best
way is to start with yourself about the thing that you want others to do. without expecting others to start and in fact this is the true form of servant leadership.
Assuming that you are a good professional and have been performing per the defined job role with accountability, you may be unlucky in not having a right boss to work with. It happens if you are at the wrong organization. It’s difficult to change the boss or his behavior and no point of breaking your head or adding to your tension everyday.
The best solution is to move to a progressive organization, preferably any MNC where there is a caring kind of work culture. HR in such organization has a very positive role to play in developing people across all levels and can even act a catalyst to bring correctiveness wherever such gaps exist.
By any chance if you are not up to the mark then please mold yourself to the boss’s /company’s expectations to avoid any untoward action damaging your career prospects.