Your challenge for 2013, if you choose to accept it, is to be a better leader. You see, it doesn’t matter if you are the Prime Minister or a priest, the Lord Mayor or a labourer, a CEO or a school teacher, your organisation and our community would be better places if there was more leadership.
In a book called Improving Leadership Effectiveness, first published in 1975, the authors (Feidler and Chemens) made the key point that “the single most important factor determining the success or failure of a organisation is the quality of leadership”. Think about that. Of all the things that can go right in an organisation and all the things that can go wrong, thesingle most important thing that will determine whether you are successful or not, is leadership.
In over a decade of working as a business consultant with small, medium and large organisations, I absolutely agree that there is no more important issue in organisations than improving leadership effectiveness. A simple, practical, proven model involves five steps in moving from being a manager to a highly effective leader. Why not start 2013 with some reflection about how you are performing in each area?
- Vision. One of the most important responsibilities of a leader is to make sure that their organisation has a vision of what it wants to be in the future. Imagine a picture of a bright, successful future. What does it look like? Is it clear and in focus or blurry and grainy? It is hard to get the best out of people if they have no idea where they are going.
- Authenticity. Leaders need to be the real deal, not a cheap copy or a phoney. Imagine buying something of value like an expensive watch, some artwork or sporting memorabilia only to find out that it was fake. You feel ripped off. Imagine, then, the feeling that people have who put their trust in a leader, only to find out that they are not who they say they are. People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.
- Action. Effective leaders get things done. They produce results. They are outcome focused. They manage their time efficiently. They focus their teams on the most important issues and help them achieve. They walk the talk.
- Inspiration. Leaders inspire others to perform at higher levels than they normally would. People look up to effective leaders and try hard to please them.
- Responsibility. Leaders take responsibility for the results they produce – win, lose or draw. They create a culture of accountability where everyone does what they say they will do. No one plays the blame game.
My advice to people who aspire to be more effective leaders is to spend some time reflecting on their 2012 performance. How do you rate in these five important areas? Pick the one in which you have the most room for improvement and work on it in 2013.
If you want your organisation to be successful, the quality ofyour leadership is the single most important factor.