In the past leadership was about command and control… remember “Atlas Shrugged”?
Today leadership looks much different. It begins with knowing yourself as a person as well as a leader (these two things should go hand in hand and be the same). An effective leader is aware that they have to understand themselves before they can understand others. Today’s leader takes self-awareness and learns to value and respect their own strengths as well as their weaknesses. Once a leader goes through this process for themselves, they can transfer this learning to others. In order for today’s leader to be effective, they have to value and respect people that are different from them. They appreciate what is learned from others and the gift it brings to the organization.
The “old school” of leadership may have been “control and command” but the truth is the only time the “control and command” style of leadership is effective is when we are in crisis. For example, the building is burning down and we need a leader to say, “Go this way and let’s get out and be safe”. Crisis leadership is sometimes necessary and is not the time for sharing ideas and collaborating on what to do next; however, this is not a style to use on a regular basis. People have always been able to think for themselves, even in the days when the “control and command” style of leadership was the only style valued. We “dumb down” our people if we are telling them everything to do… how to do it… solving all of their problems for them. We need to allow them to critically think, make mistakes, correct their mistakes, grow and move forward. It is the leader’s responsibility to make a safe and confident culture where sharing, learning and growth take place. This is what today’s leader does whether they are leading a Fortune 500 company or a small family business.
What have you found that works in your leadership? I would love to hear from you.