Posted by: kenwbudd | February 26, 2009

Leadership; 5 easy steps

Becoming an effective leader has been compared to being in the stock market, in a normal year. You don’t make your fortune in one day; you make it daily and weekly, a little bit at a time. What matters most is what you do day after day, over a long period of time. The secret to leadership success is investing in your leadership development, much like letting your financial assets compound. The final result “Leadership Growth” over time.

Are leaders born or made, nature or nurture. The process of leadership is long, complex and has many elements. Respect, dignity, discipline, people skills, vision, emotional strength, opportunity, preparedness and experience are just some of the intangible elements which come into play when talking leadership. Calm assertive personalities.

You can, over a period of time, increase your leadership potential if you can understand and accept the five levels of leadership. They are;

Level One – Leadership From Position
This is the basic level of leadership, square 1. At this level people follow you because they have to. Your ability to lead people is totally geared to your position and does not exceed the lines of your job description or the authority granted to you by the company and your boss. Your security with the company is based on title and position, not talent. They salute the uniform not the man.

To be an effective leader at this level know your job, be prepared to accept responsibility, exercise authority with caution, assess the strengths and short comings of your people, do more than what is expected and challenge people with interesting and tough assignments.

Positional Level is the doorway to leadership and every successful leader must pass through this doorway.

Level Two – Leadership From Respect
At the respect level of leadership people follow you because they want to. The core of Leadership From Respect is that people want to know that you care and understand about them and their viewpoint (empathy). You have to accomplish this before they care about or will consider or value, what you know. People see you as a professional partner, sharing the similar goals and challenges along the way. Leadership will flourish with respect, because respect breeds lasting trusted professional relationships and therefore forms the basis for effective leadership.

To be effective at the respect level, you need to possess (develop) a genuine concern for your people. It is important that you see life through their eyes. Deal thoughtfully and wisely with, apparently difficult people. Cultivate success and make employees successful by setting them up for success. Give them an appetite for it and stand back.

Since leadership from respect is built on professional relationships, it forms the foundation for leadership success.

Level Three – Leadership From Results
People follow you because of what you have done for the company. People admire you for your accomplishments and respect your tenacity. At this point leadership becomes fun. Going to work is fun, work related challenges are seen to be opportunities for a more stable work environment and all tasks have a purpose in the minds of the employees. Good things happen at the results level. Making profit, low employee turnover, higher employee morale and solving problems with ease are some of the items that become evident at this level.

To be an effective leader at this level be prepared to initiate and accept responsibility for growth by developing a purpose and seeing it through to completion. Develop accountability for results, beginning with yourself and ending with your people. Make the difficult decisions that will result in positive long term gains while championing change as a change agent and understanding the need for and the process of change.

Leadership from results is built on admiration and respect for the leader.

Level Four – Leadership From People Development

People follow you because of what you have done for them. It is a leader’s responsibility to develop their people to do the work that is expected to contribute future growth opportunities to the company and the people who serve it. People are loyal to you because they see first hand personal growth opportunities for them as well as, the company. Leadership success is underscored by a win – win scenario and a high commitment to success.

To be effective at this level place a priority on developing people. Focus your attention on the fact that people are your most valuable asset and your leadership success will depend on your ability to surround yourself with an inner core of competent people who compliment your leadership style and goals.

Leadership from people development is built on honesty, commitment and loyalty.

Level Five – Leadership From Mentorship
People follow you because they respect you. As a leader you have credibility, you may appear larger than life and your success is shown through a life of proven accomplishments. People seek you out after you have left the company because you have left an indelible mark on the organisation, its employees and its clients. Although less than five per cent of all leaders will attain this level of leadership, it is a level worth striving for.

In summary, everyone can become a good or better leader. It is important to keep in mind that the higher you want to go up the leadership scale, the longer it takes to accomplish results and the higher the commitment will need to be. It is imperative that we know what level we are on with our people, the team and the company.


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