The concept of a ‘leader’ goes beyond the responsibilities of a ‘manager’. Although they are usually one in the same person, the obligations and expectations of a leader are very different from that of a manager.
Managers need to structure their team to be effective and efficient, organize their actions, drive results and report progress.
Leaders, on the other hand, need to:
- Inspire and motivate
- Bring people together and empower them
- Be open to new ideas
- Develop their team to be the next leaders in the organization
A leader is not only respected for his or her intelligence and insight, but their ability to bring the best out of the people around them. A great leader is usually not, and does not want to be, the smartest person in the room. Great leaders surround themselves with teams that have more experience and ideas in their areas of expertise than the leader. All of these experts, when led by the right person, can be an unstoppable force in driving strategy, building culture, making change and enhancing the financial performance of the company.
A leader with an open mind towards others, their ideas and creativity can have a profound impact on an individual contributor, their team and the organization by:
- Fostering creativity – The most successful companies are the ones that do things first, and do things best. Yes, there may be missteps, but if you have high performers, just one new idea could change the trajectory of a company’s performance. A great leader is always looking for the next great idea – the idea that makes something, anything and/or everything, better. They are not afraid to take a chance and support the team to drive the idea forward.
- Developing a sense of empowerment and accountability within the team – High performers want to take ownership for the job they have been hired to do. They want to feel like they have the ability to make decisions, and are willing to accept the consequences for wrong decisions, including fixing any problems that do (and will) arise. A leader, who is open to new ideas, empowers people to do their job in their own way, bringing to the table new ways to think about and do things. These are the people that leaders want to be surrounded by as they work towards the accomplishment of their strategy.
- Building confidence in the team’s ability – The next generation of leaders need to be confident in their abilities. A leader that is open to new ideas, and credits others for these ideas, allows people to be recognized for their successes (and accountable for their mistakes, which are critical to the learning and development cycle). By building the confidence of team members, employees are more effective and efficient in executing their role.
- Allowing the team to build strong working relationships and trust across the organization – We have all experienced some form of office politics in our careers. A leader with an open mind to new ideas does not allow ‘politics’ to get in the way of success. They embrace whatever the best idea is, regardless of who thought of it, and drive the idea forward whole-heartedly. By instilling this attribute in their team, collaboration across the organization can occur more freely, enhancing the organization’s overall success.
Leaders need to have a number of unique and selfless traits to be great, including the ability to be open to new and, sometimes, controversial ideas. This attribute is critical to the development of the next leaders of any organization, and will leave a legacy of the leader for years to come.
Prism Partners International can help you develop leaders in your organization by identifying and developing the skills they will need to be successful. Through our proprietary rating process and development plans, we can isolate the areas for improvement and hold the employee and their supervisor accountable to make the necessary adjustments for success.
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