I expect you’ve all been deeply shocked by the gas attacks in
. But if we were to take a poll I doubt we’d
all agree about what we, as a country, should do in response. Syria
Parliament’s defeat of the vote for military action has caused some repercussions. Commentators seem fixated on the question of whether David Cameron/the conservative party/the country/the ‘special relationship’ has been damaged by this apparent back track.
All of which started me thinking about what makes for strong leadership and whether a change of mind is a sign of strength or weakness.
Running your own business or managing a company needs leadership AND management skills. The two are quite different. Good managers are not always good leaders and vice versa. So what makes for strong leadership and how come it’s such a rare commodity?
Please don’t think I’m claiming to be a strong leader myself. I am old enough and wise enough to know that leadership is not my forte! However, I’ve worked with a few impressive leaders and have watched how they operate. The best are visionaries. They tend to be single minded when it comes to achieving objectives and although they are aware of challenges, they have a ‘terrier’ trait that keeps them hanging on. So does that mean they never waver or have a change of heart?
In my experience, true leaders share some characteristic ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’.
- jump to conclusions
- threaten or bully
- sway between allegiances or causes
- either over-simplify or over-complicate their message
- get bogged down with irrelevancies
- their homework
- enlist champions, who believe in their cause and act as advocates
- communicate their vision to everyone involved, and I mean everyone!
- motivate their people and trust them to get on with the job
- have their finger on the pulse.
And perhaps that last point is the most pertinent. True leaders know what’s going on. What may have been right six days/weeks/months ago may not be now. Sometimes environment changes mean that objectives need to change too. That’s what flexibility and responsiveness is all about. Sticking to a goal that has been superseded or has become outdated is nothing more than dogma.
Surely a strong leader is one with the strength of character to stand up and say “we need to do this differently” rather than plough on regardless of the fallout.
Have you worked with someone who had leadership qualities? Why not share your thoughts here about what made them so influential?