We don’t have many good leaders in Australia. Our current events in Australia have opened the eyes of many in relation to that statement. Politically, we have seen campaigns run on manipulation, campaigns run on fear and negativity, preying on our emotions to gain a result. Manipulation is one of the lowest forms of influence and highlights to us all what we are missing
The first role for a leader is to the people they serve. That means us, doesn’t it? Does anyone believe this to be true? It comes down to who we trust the most, or to vote against whom we absolutely don’t trust. In other words we actually don’t trust our leaders at all, because even though we may have relatively higher trust on some, we still expect them to breach that trust in some way.
And in the corporate world, we have some great companies that embrace leadership and empower and galvanise their team to drive better performance and outcomes in an ever increasing world. We also have many that still are led by managers, and not by leaders. Many of our management text books still focus on practices derived from the 1920’s. We are yet to embrace the newer disciplines of leadership and everything that entails.
Managers maintain the status quo, by controlling people and processes. They keep business and people in the box. Leaders create, develop and empower their business by developing and empowering their people. They harness the energy and ownership that we all have and they trust their teams to deliver outcomes. They don’t allow process or policies to stand in the way of their team member’s ability.
And the companies that “control” process and their people are missing out on the fundamental beauty behind great leadership. Management is based around “One Best way” which is the process designed by a manager. Leadership is about harnessing the ideas and thoughts of many to deliver a great way. So by packing your people and process into a box, you limit the extent of what you and your business can achieve.
Leadership is often spoken of as a “soft skill”. Management and control is often seen as the hallmarks of a “tough boss”. My experience details that the opposite is true. Leadership requires time and courage. Being a tough boss requires neither. Managers use position to control, while leaders take the people on a journey with them. Manipulation and intimidation are hallmarks of a tough boss. Integrity and respect are the hallmarks of a great leader.
The good news is that Leadership is a skill that can be understood and taught. You don’t need a position to lead. Some of the greatest leaders of all time haven’t needed a position to influence and lead. Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King go down in history as great leaders with insight and influence on all walks of life.
A big country needs big leaders and we are crying out for them. It starts with each and every one of us. Its time for a leadership revolution
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