Perhaps when considering Leadership and especially when coupled with changing our business through a programme or project, we should consider the words of Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese military general, who said:
The art of war is of vital importance to the State and then, is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account in one’s deliberations, when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field.
Two of these five factors were ‘The Moral Law’ and ‘The Commander’.
The Moral Law causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives, undismayed by any danger. The Commander stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerely, benevolence, courage and strictness.
Leadership is the ability to establish vision and direction, to influence and align others towards a common purpose, and to empower and inspire people to achieve programme or project success. It enables the programme or project to proceed in an environment of change and uncertainty.
What is the relationship between leadership and management? They are sometimes seen as synonymous. There is, however, a difference between the two and it does not follow that every leader is a manager.
Leaders are people, who do the right things:
Leaders are interested in direction, vision, goals, objectives, intentions, purpose and effectiveness – the right things. A leader tends to think of the staff as resources and wonders just what their potential is – both for earnings and for personal success.
Managers are people, who do things right: managers are interested in efficiency, the how-to, the day-to-day, doing things right – and not making any mistakes. A manager tends to think of the staff in terms of how much they cost.
People work for a manager, whilst they work with a leader.
There are some superior characteristics or competencies that make one person an ‘inspiring leader’ and another ‘just’ an effective manager. There are some essential leadership activities associated with inspiring and influencing others to go that extra mile for the programme, project and the organisation.
An effective Leader must be prepared to use whichever style is most appropriate for any given circumstance. This is usually referred to as Situational Leadership. The style you use will depend on:
* Your degree of trust or confidence in your team
* Your confidence in yourself
* The confidence that your superiors have in you
* The ability of your team
* Time constraints
Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard developed a theory of leadership called ‘Situational Leadership’. It is a very powerful way of determining appropriate leadership behaviour, depending on the situation. They maintain that it is a combination of both the directive and supportive behaviour styles.
Research by Daniel Goleman has shown that there are six distinct leadership styles, each arising from different components of emotional intelligence. These styles, taken individually, appear to have a direct and unique impact on the working atmosphere of the organization, department or team.
Research also shows that leaders with the best results do not rely on only one leadership style; they use most of them in any given week depending on the business situation.
And to end with!
A couple of my favourite quotes:
‘There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things’
‘All of us have it within us to be a Leader, it is only circumstance that gives us the opportunity‘