Leadership is the social influence, which maximises the efforts of others towards the achievement of an objective or goal. It comes in many forms, and there is a vast range of techniques and strategies that can be employed to get the most out of your staff and colleagues.
People often use the terms leadership and management interchangeably, and this has created confusion. Leadership is different to management, yet they both have their place in business.
Management involves planning, coordinating, measuring and monitoring things. By definition, it requires your active input. Managers have people who work for them, whereas, leaders inspire people to follow them.
Is one of these options superior? Well, there is no clear answer to that question, and often the answer depends entirely on the job at hand. What is clear, is that for a business to succeed, it needs good managers and good leaders.
There is a common misconception that leadership comes with position or seniority. This is not the case at all and, in fact, anyone can be a leader. However, all managers should be leaders.
Everyone within your organisation should be encouraged to lead, regarding less of their title or position within the business. Leading by being a good example to other colleagues is a great and easy way to get started.
Behavioural theorists believe that leaders are made, not born, very much in the same way that no one is born being able to conduct heart surgery. Some people may naturally have skills that lend themselves well to leadership, however, anyone can learn to be a good leader through training, increased self-awareness, practice and experience. Even those that appear to be ‘natural leaders’ have learnt this behaviour over time.
Some of the most common leadership styles include autocratic, bureaucratic, charismatic, democratic/participative, laissez-faire, people-oriented/relations-oriented, servant and task-oriented leadership. There are too many to discuss in this article but what is important is that leaders have an understanding of the different styles and how each one can positively, or negatively, individual or group behaviour.
If you feel that you, a member of your team, would benefit from training on this subject, check out our one-day training course on Understanding Leadership.
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