A potential Leader may be inside many of you. Some of you worked and even clawed your way to becoming one by now. But is that all?
Are you now a 'Leader' in every essence of the term?
You may be Top Management too, but as far as 'Leadership' goes - does the ball stop there?
Well not necessarily! There is still another rung to climb - to becoming an 'Effective Leader'.
Just growth from one rung of the leadership ladder to another does not alone define your effectiveness. There is a small, yet distinctive line between a being a 'Leader' and being an 'Effective Leader'.
Very few achieve the latter. Those who have done so successfully are actually the ones, you try to emulate even after achieving your own leadership status.
How many other leaders emulate you today? If you have a positive answer to that one, you're on the right track and probably an 'Effective Leader'
You can do any number of management courses but the one thing you will never learn from any of these is that an effective leader is actually built from being most 'true to who you really are', and creating with clarity, a focus to a 'specific goal', so imperative to understanding your mission in your position today.
I have seen a lot of people take over leadership roles and thereafter immediately attempt to apply their 'bookish' knowledge to their working. Similarly, many attempt to apply their previous experience and methodology into the 'newer environment' assuming its applicability in any leadership role.
The truth is this - Education & previous Experience only gives you a 'direction', not the 'method'.
Did you know that it is almost an art; knowing how to adapt to change, when and where to use your acquired knowledge, build on the blocks laid down through your education and experience (which also includes 'Life's' experience)?
I appreciated the message in the Oscar Winner, "Slumdog Millionaire", wherein the protagonist built his knowledge from experience. Few of us ever attempt to savor these experiences and more importantly apply it effectively at the right time.
Understanding that the actual process of adapting to different and changing environments impacts leadership style and methods.
The simple truth about being an effective and respected leader is to tap into your own inner-self to understand your capabilities. Attempting to do things you are not capable of, just because you were taught that or are expected to do; would seldom lead to effective leadership. Knowing yourself involves, identifying your personality without others making one for you, Identifying your own weakness and work on them proactively before others point it out to you, Capitalizing on your strengths and using them well irrespective of whether others think it is put-on or they have it too.
As a Leader today, I have used these 5 principles with an aim to be more effective
1) Know and understand clearly your Goal
2) Know, Understand and respect your Resources
3) Don't create too many boundaries
4) Have an absorbing and open mind
5) Know yourself well.
It's as simple as that - no big time 'mantra' here!
However... easy and maybe to some of you even ridiculous as the above may sound, believe me when I say applying this isn't all that easy and that's wherein you can realize its impact in the form of achievement.
The best part of my 5 principle plan is that not only is so do-able, it applies to anyone, in any sort of leadership position - from a Team leader, to a CEO, to a Political Leader.
Many of us think we know our goals, it's obvious and it's defined - This is not true.
Did you know that in addition to the obvious Goal, you responsibility also includes a significant degree 'Value Addition' and this, is not defined.
This value addition will always vary from one individual to another based purely on your capabilities and approach. Your Goal also includes established evidence of Improvement, Optimization and Foresight.
No longer is a leader required to just have a task accomplished via a team. That's kids-play in a corporate world. Anyone can do that. Just because your team under your guidance achieved great quality or timely delivery or customer satisfaction; doesn't alone define the success of your role as their Leader. That is expected, you are paid well for that and it is only a small part of your profile. Building on the above success and creating from it newer and more advanced ones is really what the challenge is about.
Leadership is a constantly evolving role. Just as you reach one goal, your find newer and more challenging ones already queued up in front of you. And when you see that there is no queue, even then, there is always more to be done since, good can be better, better can be best, best can be perfect, perfect can be... well.......lets just say 'Better than Perfect'. Don't satisfy yourself so easily. Create new goals. As long as you are healthy and still working, remember you can always take one more step.
There is this amazing quote that 'Real leaders create more leaders, not followers'. This really gives you a direction towards understanding your mission. If you look deep into this quote and then look at much of the current crop of our political leaders or maybe even some 'Top Shots' within your own organization; You will see wherein exactly lies the difference between a 'Leader' and an 'Effective Leader'.
Just being a leader is not enough. We have enough of them. Try to stand out. YOU, your name, your work should have made an impact in some form or another such that there are others who are happy to emulate you.
Be an Effective Leader and leave your mark!