MANY people mistakenly think that leaders and managers are the same. They are actually different because leaders focus on inspiring and developing people whereas managers focus on controlling people.
Leaders and managers need to influence people. Managers rely on formal power while leaders rely on personal power to influence people. People can respond in different ways when someone tries to influence them — they can resist, obey or agree happily.
The problem faced by managers is that, too often, people simply obey and refrain from disagreeing with them because of fear.
Effective leaders are able to get people to accept their suggestions willingly because they tap into shared values and help people to grow. Effective leaders recognise the importance of building a collective identity because people who feel they belong to a group that gives their lives more meaning are likely to make sacrifices for the group and enjoy their work.
Creating a collective identity requires knowing what values and goals inspire people, and developing a climate where all members of the group feel a sense of purpose, are respected and appreciated. Here are the core qualities of a leader:
1. Leaders inspire trust
Trust is a complex phenomenon and its importance in workplace relationships is easy to overlook. Different types of behaviours lead to different types of trust.
Being competent and reliable is a good start if you want to be seen as trustworthy, but you need to do more if you want to get enduring trust from people and not have your intentions questioned.
2. Leaders care
The best leaders care deeply about people, their organisation and the wider community. They transform people by personifying integrity, compassion and authenticity. The best leaders preach only what they practise, inspire others to seek greatness and share their explicit and tacit knowledge enthusiastically.
3. Great leaders energise people
They are able to motivate people by being role models, acting with fairness and convincing others of the worthiness of the future they envisage.
4. Leaders recognise needs
An effective leaders recognises the various needs of others and behaves such that he satisfies their need for dignity, respect and achievement.
To be motivated, people need to be excited about their goals and be convinced that they can achieve goals that may seem unattainable at first. Effective leaders are exciting and inspire their people to make lots of little sacrifices so they can achieve lofty goals and maximise their potential.
5. Leaders influence organisational culture
Every organisation has its own particular culture. You can think of organisational culture as the way in which an organisation operates and subsumes issues such as what matters to the organisation and how members of the organisation should behave and treat others.
Effective leaders know how to build an organisational culture that can get the best out of people in a win-win way. Organisational cultures that are meritocratic and harmonious encourage people to do their very best.
Great organisational cultures make people look forward to going to work and perform at levels that surpass their personal standards, and make members of the organisation feel that they are part of a big family that supports and nurtures them. Great organisational cultures also lead to great organisational performance.
6. Great leaders empower others
Work is a major part of people’s lives. It provides people not only with a means to pay their bills but also a sense of identity. Effective leaders know this and therefore ensure that their people believe that the work they do is meaningful and that they have ownership of their jobs.
To empower others requires confidence that allows others to be great. Effective leaders empower people by giving them autonomy, allowing them to demonstrate their competencies, providing them with opportunities to grow, and making them feel that what they do matters to the organisation and the wider community.
The secret to effective leadership is not to manage your people. There is no need to control people because most people take pride in their work and want to make a positive difference in their world.
Micro-management stifles creativity, reduces trust in the leader and makes people feel unworthy. True leadership creates love for the leader, a desire to emulate the leader, and a passion to do things above and beyond the call of duty.