Leaders Leave Legacies – 4 Areas To Audit Your Leadership Legacy
Categories: Blog, Human Element, Leadership
Are You A Steve Jobs or George Washington Leader?
“Faith In America’s Future” is the foundation theme for this year’s inauguration day on January 21, 2013. As we look ahead to Inauguration Day, we will most likely reflect on the November election and envision what our future holds and study the leadership qualities breathing within the leaders of our country.
True leadership leaves a legacy. Now is the time to audit your leadership style and align it with the legacy you will bestow. Leadership styles certainly vary as evident when comparing style and leadership qualities between admirable leaders such as George Washington, the first President of the United States, and Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple. The two owned very different leadership styles, yet both left a legacy.
THE GEORGE WASHINGTON LEADER
“Although he lost most of his battles with the British, year after year he held his ragtag, hungry army together” – from the EDSITEment resource The American President.
What combination of qualities enabled George Washington to succeed as a leader and emerge as the most significant leader in the founding of the United States of America, to the extent of being called the “Father of the Country”? Resources tell us President Washington embodied experience and strategic thinking as well as being resourceful, quick witted, careful and both gentle and brutal. None of these qualities were cited as the most significant in the man who was able to lead through victory or defeat. Regarded as an indispensable man, his character was the most commonly cited quality, beyond his intelligence and ideas as he emerged to a supreme leader.
THE STEVE JOBS LEADER
Most every article you read recalls Steve Jobs broke every rule in leadership.
“He never mellowed, never let up on Apple employees, never stopped relying on his singular instincts in making decisions about how Apple products should look and how they should work”, New York Times columnist Joe Nocera told Forbes.
Jobs’ magnetism was found in his passion, innovation and creativity. Although his leadership style was not adduced by character, it is easy to say that Steve Jobs impacted many lives.
Perhaps in today’s world, a combination of George Washington and Steve Jobs would prove to be the epitome of leadership. While expertise and background cling to being vital, it is crucial to develop leaders capable to deal with dubiety and change, to lead and cultivate innovation and creativity, and to make and implement decisions quickly.
#1: THE VISION OF LEADERSHIP
Beginning with the end in mind serves as a vital principal to follow in every area of business and personal life. The same holds true in leadership. Knowing where you want to be and what you want to accomplish provides you with a map depicting how you will get there creating viable results.
Leadership requires wrapping surrogate assumptions and paradigms as part of a larger vision that enlivens new representation and inspiring a team to move to a shared vision by building trust.
Avoid setting blanket goals but strive to set specific and measurable goals, which will create increased employee engagement and motivation. Provide employees with an effectual vision easy to understand and concise along with an emotional aspect each team member can embrace.
Inspiring a team to move forward to a shared vision requires building trust: believing a team of people can modify all the challenges that congest creating a future quite different from the present.When your team refers to your firms’ vision, you will equip them with the ability to affirm how their work directly contributes to the big picture of success.
#2: THE PERILS OF LEADERSHIP
Effective leadership can be analyzed by reaction to accidental events through effective risk management. Notable skilled leaders learn from occurrences, employ amended practices and protect team morale. Effective leaders focus attention on finding a workable solution regardless of the source. Key actions to hone attention towards a solution rather than the sources require leaders to:
- Ask the right questions
- Consult with team members or a focus group
- Embody candor, courage and empathy
Admirable leaders grasp compiled knowledge from their team to recognize applicable solutions. Additionally, effective leaders consult with a mix of people and resources to procure alternative perspectives in order to balance and manage risk.
Regardless of the situation, reacting cogently to change is necessary by uniting a harmonious culture through modeling placid behavior.
Worthy leaders embody candor, courage and empathy through decisions made in the best interest of the firm, team members, clients and their community.
“…You can’t control people through policies, procedures and policing. You can only do it through a strong risk management culture and absolute integrity in all leaders.”
#3: A BAND OF BROTHERS IN LEADERSHIP – Lessons From The Front Lines
Without followers, a leader is simply one person with a goal or an idea. Realization of relying on the support, knowledge and skills embodied in a team is vital to noble leadership. Successful followers are not idle robots waiting for commands, they understand the vision of the firm and freely support leadership without reservation. The most compelling team members are those that possess the ability to lead and follow.
Followers have the ability to assess situations and respond accordingly without requiring incessant need for direction and supervision.
Followers shift to leaders at different intervals throughout any given day. Being a great follower is just as important as being a great leader to achieve success.
Many leaders and managers have difficulty in refraining from a micromanagement leadership method. Despite the known benefits of delegation and yielding team members authority in departmental decision making, many managers have difficulty in surrendering power. Leaders need teams to acquire triumph. Relying on team members provides:
- Increased ownership in outcomes
- Improves productivity
- Aids in prioritization
An example of incredible teamwork is displayed during The Crucible in the United States Marine Corp. The Crucible emphasizes trainee teamwork under stress. Recruits get 8 hours of sleep during a 54 hour exercise and are allowed very little food while undergoing tough physical activities. It isn’t long before the band of brothers are tired and hungry, but as they continue going they come to the realization they can call on reserves they didn’t know they had. By day two of the ritual, recruits realize they have to rely on each other. No one gets through the crucible alone. When leaders support followers, ideas mold into form and visions become reality.
#4: LEADERSHIP DILIGENCE
Through challenge, impressive leaders will find opportunity. Without opportunities, development and new obligations are impeded. In Max Lucado’s book, Great Day Every Day, he shares wisdom each of us can apply:
“You ought to be glad for the troubles on your job because they provide about half your income. If it were not for the things that go wrong, the difficult people with whom you deal, and the problems of your working day, someone could be found to handle your job for half of what you are being paid.
So start looking for more troubles. Learn to handle them cheerfully and with good judgement, as opportunities rather than irritations, and you will find yourself getting ahead at a surprising rate. For there are plenty of big jobs waiting for people who are not afraid of troubles.”
Symbolic occasions make you a better leader whether they take place at work or in your personal life and no matter where they happen they are an important part of leadership development. Link the occasion to a gift of opportunity; step up and be or do something you have never done before.
Leadership is innately about people which helps us to understand why the most experienced technical expert may not make the best leader in a given environment.
Leaders display the behavior that is compensated. Firms should ensure that performance management systems do not reward individuals who manage only by exercising their authority.
Leaders are much more obsequious and are people you learn from rather than take orders from. Audit your leadership attributes in the four key areas discussed. Download Ironstone’s Leadership Audit Checklist Here: 01.05.13 Ironstone Leadership Audit Checklist
“Good leaders create a vision, passionately articulate the vision, and relentlessly drive the vision to completion.”
We are curious – Do you have a leadership program or process in place at your firm? Tell us about it
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