Leadership defined in its simplest form is the action of leading a group of people or organizations. It is a dimension that is highly dependent on the ability of the individual but also one that can be learned and continually developed. There are styles of leadership which have been existing since the dawn of the species and those that have been identified recently, each having specific scenarios or industries that they apply best in. Effective leadership encompasses the balance between the application of ability and experience to arrive at the required outcome.
What defines leadership?
Leadership enables an individual to set goals in accordance to the expected outcomes, the scenario and the needs of the people around them with a confidence that does not waver in the face of lost popularity due to an objective decision. It holds a unique starting point for every individual that engages in it as it is a combination of intelligence, psychological make-up, training and experience. Even while considering intelligence, psychological make-up and experience, few of us can become effective leaders with the lack of training.
The transition from being the employee that performs hands-on tasks to the person that manages the people that perform-hands on tasks is one that is a recipe for failure if appropriate guidance and training is not provided. Training not only enables an individual to absorb the knowledge and practice the basic skills required to be a good leader, it also allows a good leader to explore the various styles of leadership that exist and enables them to update their arsenal to put to use when some scenarios demand different styles of leadership.
Leadership involves taking up responsibility and accountability for individual and team actions. It includes heavy lifting in terms of decision-making involving competing objectives, amidst people management which is a complex and nuanced task. Leaders empower employees to navigate complex goals, manage resistance and try to align everyone to the common goal despite the varied interests. Mastering this, with all its intricacies and complexities is what makes leadership an art.
Leadership constantly challenges an individual to develop their competencies and update their existing skills in this fast-paced business world. In a leadership hierarchy, a low-level manager would need to have basic leadership skills but as they progress to become mid-level and top-level managers, their analytical skills must grow to complement the array of leadership skills and styles they gain through the journey. The more challenges they face in the wider range of tasks they engage with, greater is the need and motivation to imbibe additional leadership competencies.
The current trend is strength-based leadership where goal setting and action planning play to the strengths of the leader. DiSC is one such tool that enables leaders to identify their dominant dimension, be it Dominance, Influence, Steadiness or Compliance. Leadership involves an individual having innate intelligence, psychological make-up along with experience, training and the ability to continuously update oneself in order to lead a group of people or organizations in a manner that caters to both business and people goals.