Leadership is the art of inspiring people to work together to achieve a common goal. In the workplace, this can take the form of motivating employees and colleagues to take strategic action to accomplish a specific need within the company.
Here’s a rundown on leadership skills along with some examples of how they can benefit a business.
What is Leadership?
Leadership is social influence that inspires others to take action and work towards achieving a specific goal. Effective leadership is centered upon original and borrowed ideas being communicated to people in a manner that encourages them to take a specific action.
Remember that seniority and one’s position in the company hierarchy has nothing to do with leadership. People often refer to an organization’s senior executives as the company’s leadership. But these people are only that, senior executives. Leadership doesn’t kick in by itself when you reach a particular pay grade. You may find it there, but there isn’t any guarantee of that.
Leadership in Action
Successful leaders motivate people to act and directs the actions they take. They need to be personable enough for other people to want to follow their orders, but they need the critical thinking and problem solving skills to deal with difficulties that arise in the organization.
Leadership is connected to performance in a business setting. While leadership is not inherently linked to profit, effective leaders are seen in the corporate context as those with the capability of increasing a company’s bottom line.
Although some are gifted with natural leadership abilities, anyone can learn to become more effective in their leadership styles if they work hard to develop certain skills. History is full of examples of individuals with no prior leadership skills stepping up in the midst of crisis and persuading others to adopt their recommended course of action.
Leadership vs. Management
The terms management and leadership are often used interchangeably, but they are very different. Both managers and leaders have resources they have to oversee, but an effective leader has traits that extend beyond the duties of management. A manager may or may not inspire the people under their supervision, but a leader must inspire others to follow them.
Another difference that exists between managers and leaders is that good leaders place a high priority on innovation. While a manager looks to motivate their team to achieve goals in accordance with company rules and guidelines, a leader will encourage others to set and achieve ambitious, lofty goals. If an employee comes up with a new method to efficiently tackle an issue, a leader will be more inclined to let that person run with the idea.
Managers operate within certain frameworks and are more likely to preserve the status quo and day to day management structure. They often have superiors to report to and therefore have less freedom to break the current mold in pursuit of ambitious goals. On the other hand leaders often operate with a fair amount of independence. This allow them to work with a greater amount of chaos around them if they believe it will pay off in the long run.
Everything comes at a cost, however, and a leader’s commitment to innovation is no different. High pressured, chaotic work environments lead to interpersonal and organizational issues. In such an event, a manager will be more inclined to smooth employee problems over. A leader on the other hand may be so hyper focused on achieving their goals that they neglect interpersonal problems and employee welfare.
- Leadership is the art of inspiring people to work together to achieve a common goal.
- Organizations often refer to their upper-level management as their leadership.
- An effective leader has traits that extend beyond the duties of management.
- If you focus on leadership development, you can learn new skills and evolve in your leadership qualities.
- A person may be referred to as both a leader and a manager, but those terms aren’t necessarily synonymous.
For a look at various leadership styles, take a look at this article.