On Leadership : Rookie's opinion
What does leadership mean to me?
Carmine Gallo, in his recent article about new Hyundai's CEO "How Hyundai's New CEO Taught Me To Create An Irresistible Brand Story", described inspiring leaders and great communicators as those who are passionate about their brand. Here's the key - they are not as passionate about the product as much as they are enthusiastic about what the product means to their customers. Robin Stuart - Kotze, in his research, distinguished leadership from stewardship.
Value adding behaviour is Leadership. Value protecting behaviour is Stewardship. Value diminishing behaviour is Energy loss.
Leadership, he says, is about change, about seeking ever to create the conditions in which people will perform to ever higher standards, to change the company constantly to compete in an ever-changing world.
It is quite evident, that leadership is more than simply barking orders at people. And, which is more important, it is a skill to be learned. It is a congenital talent, given for every person, but the main (and the hardest) task, is to reveal and develop it.
In our everyday life we are constantly dealing with conflict situations. It may happen almost anywhere, wherever you go. Conflict is always accompanied by strong emotional stress and great energy loss. Energy loss means that a great deal of energy is spent in vain, with no positive results, with no benefits for any of the conflict sides. Conflict causes great damage, not only by making people act hastily, but also by breaking the relationship down. It is all about emotional state, which is also important. Emotional stress results in lack of concentration, thus making productivity decrease. Conflict situations may happen on any level, that is why avoiding conflict situations is one of the key directions, key aspects of any state's policy.
Nowadays, conflicts are becoming common. Naturally, conflict affects not only both sides of the conflict, but also people, who are not involved in this contravention. Consequently, conflict may affect the whole community, or even a state.
According to John R. Boatright from Financial Analyst Journal,
the danger may come not from your own ethics but from the ethics of people around you and the organization of which you are a part
Any conflict will inevitably test your personal values, moral beliefs, and ability to control yourself. In this case, a leader should be able to analyze the problem from any perspective. Thus, conflicts are one of the key aspects of leadership, because being able to predict and manage conflict enhances your chances to become a true leader.
We live in a fascinating world of cultural and ethnic diversity. There are so many different values, beliefs and traditions that it seems quite impossible to discover all of them. You can feel this variety everywhere you go: travelling all around the world, walking in the street, or just watching the television.
The process of globalization made it possible for people from different countries to share their ideas and thoughts, thus contributing to the global development. Besides being an inevitable part of the process of society evolution, it is also a fruit of our ancestors' efforts, who tried to escape barriers between different cultures and create the global society, where all the people live in mutual tolerance and respect, sharing the same ideas of humanism, but saving their national identity.
Surprisingly several centuries ago the contradictions between eastern and western cultures made it impossible to communicate with each other. This controversy heavily impacted the development of the modern art and science. It is not common knowledge that so-called 'eastern Renaissance' took place in X-XI centuries. It was not only the period when culture and science was their height. It was a great and glorious epoch when a new ideology was developed, according to which human, his thoughts and emotions were the only things that could change the world. The human life was considered as the greatest value, and the triumph of human idea was supposed to be the greatest happiness. But because of wars and contradictions between two different civilizations all those achievements had been lost.
This small example from history shows us all the importance of communication. Therefore today it is absolutely necessary to build bridge between eastern and western cultures.
Today, as the world has shrunk, cross-cultural communication is common and worth study by any speaker or leader...This is why communication, whether interpersonal or cross-cultural, is so challenging
(George Yen, 'Cross-Cultural Communication', Toastmaster, April 2014).
Undoubtedly, the skill of cross-cultural communication is valueable, and this skil implies revealing your teammates capacities. Ability to inspire people is very valuable but the ability to find hidden talents of people is priceless.
You are very likely to find the gems under the most unlikely rocks
(Shurooq AlBanna, 'Speaking from heart', Toastmaster, April 2014)
We make decisions every day. Decision-making surrounds us from the early morning and till the night. As we get up and make our breakfast we decide whether to drink a coffee or a tea. While waiting for a bus, we decide which one will be the most suitable for us. The list is endless. It is common knowledge that every decision is affected by several facts: current situation, efficiency, preferences etc.
Nevertheless, there are some decisions that we cannot accept, despite the fact, that it would be beneficial or pleasant. These decisions require more detailed thinking. Some factor makes you predict all the obstacles and take them into consideration, especially when the results of your decision may affect someone else.
The name of this factor is responsibility. Responsibility makes us think not only of ourselves but of people surrounding us. Sense of responsibility makes you consider every step you take as a dare. Consequently, it is your responsibility to take or decline a dare. In both cases you are responsible for your decision, because things undone may have consequences too. That is why taking care of someone is a dare. You may decline helping someone, but you must be ready that this may also affect you.
Undoubtedly, when you decide to support someone, it is good, but besides being a merit, it is a big challenge and responsibility as you will have to take care till the moment when someone you support does not need your help anymore. That is a key: responsibility accompanies every decision made in our lives.
Leadership is an enigma that affects our everyday life. There is no universal receipt of leadership, as history shows us an amazing diversity of different leaders that have nothing in common except the fact that they led their people to the certain aim. In my opinion, leadership is based on the ability to cope with your own fears, in order to reach your goal and ability to predict all the obstacles and take them into consideration while planning your strategy. It also means sharing the same responsibility with your teammates and daring to face the difficulties that are an inevitable part of any decision. Leadership is a creative process of unifying different people with different ambitions and personal qualities into one solid team sharing the same values, ideas and interests.
True leaders care. Writing clean code, preparing a clear documentation or making a good-looking presentation is simply a way to show the community that you care. As Michael Feathers once said :
Clean code always looks like it was written by someone who cares
Indeed, if someone has taken time to prepare a great article, he has paid appropriate attention to details, he has cared.
To sum up, leaders are enthusiasts, people who care deeply about the craft and do not hesitate to generously share their knowledge with the world