Research the core components of leadership online, and you’ll come across so much discourse it will make your head spin.
Oftentimes, universal truths about leadership are expressed, and while that’s absolutely worthwhile and can be learned from, sometimes it also feels a little bit disconnected.
For instance, we might read tales of great Generals or incredible explorers leading their crews to uncharted lands, but it’s unlikely that we’ll be in the same situation, nor will we need to give war speeches to our staff unless things go particularly bad.
Sometimes, then, extracting what is universally useful outside of what is dramatic or orbiting a platitude can be important. As Paul Ognibene clearly points out in his blog, truly leadership is when the leader is at the forefront of his team, rather than pushing them from behind.
Rather than give you a range of heroic considerations, how can we really think of leadership as a scientific principle, as something worth looking into and appreciating, and more importantly, adopting into our own potential framework?
Those questions are worth asking in the long run. So, let’s ask them:
Leadership Takes Responsibility
It’s very important for leaders to take responsibility for their team, to accept their mistakes, and to share out the credit. This not only helps a leader be seen as the strong figurehead, but it helps them stay motivated, knowing that you’re looking out for them.
Strong leadership, for example, was expressed by many managers opting to curate remote working possibilities for staff at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, rather than dragging their feet and making the lockdowns force their hand.
Of course, learning lessons, even if we make a mistake, is all part of responsibility too, and in this light, it helps to redeem those mistakes through and through.
Leadership Updates Itself
It’s not easy to bring a team together, but it’s easier when the leader does little to try and understand what’s going on in his or her team, and how the staff is functioning.
Of course, a team leader might not need to be able to perform every task every specialist they manage is able to do, but they need to update their knowledge enough to have an educated conversation about it.
Leadership, in this way, is always focused on improving and becoming more competent, not simply getting better results from a team. This is often missing from many middle managers who have lost their verve for their career, and it is certainly felt within the team from that point on.
Leadership Is Empathetic
It may seem as though the best leadership is always stony-faced, a port in a storm, and perhaps that’s true in some part. It’s also true that leadership means confidentially handling a harassment case in complete confidence, or making sure that staff is cared for and they’re happy in their work.
It means asking why a certain staff member might be lagging behind and seeking to solve the problem rather than just punitively dismissing them. In this way, leadership becomes less of a horse-whipping effort and more of an engineering focus, one geared at making all elements of the machine work – and treating the process as less of a machine in that light.
With this advice, we hope you can more adequately understand what leadership is, and how it applies to your own professional efforts.