This article has information from "The Art of Leadership" a small handbook written about leadership by J. Donald Walters. When I personally want to read something about leadership, I want some information that can be practical in its' application; not a theoretical book. This book has much to offer. This information allows me to be pragmatic in my approach with the knowledge gained from the book. If this information can be use in my every day activities, that is the test. I can change my behavior to make me a better leader is the final exam.
This small handbook can assist one in their own development as a leader. It helps one to transcend their own personal desires into what is best for the organization, their supervisor, and their subordinates. It introduces the ideas of leadership of not being one of position or rank, but of being one who uses influence. The skills and abilities one has to influence people is leadership, not in the position one holds. The practical techniques that follow will help you become a more effective and successful leader.
Genuine leadership is leading people by being supportive. A leader is to help, assist, guide, and coach his or her followers. A leader normally does not drive, coerce, and force his followers into submission. Utilizing the proper leadership style allows one to empower his or her followers into higher levels of performance. They will exceed your expectations if allowed to. Coercive behaviors tend to cause opposition and antagonist behaviors in return. Do not dominate your people!
One who is a servant leader and will say, "we did it together" exhibits outstanding leadership. This type of leader forms a team of individuals who subsequently become a team of people working together. This is further indicated with the collaborative atmosphere that is present. The atmosphere will be one of support and good will, not one of fear. Dictatorial behavior being exhibited by the leader is just the wrong approach to take normally. Remember we can accomplish much more with people working together. Being people oriented; establishing a friendly, caring, and trusting atmosphere is needed for outstanding leadership.
Great leadership is when the leader is inspiring his or her followers. The leader impresses the need for dedication and excellence. This type of leader cultivates and coaches people properly, with positive motivation. This type of leaders helps his people to reach their full potential, encouraging and guiding them to become better. Most people need to be challenged, someone to inspire them and to be told "you're doing a good job."
Effective leadership requires one to be patient, to have self-control, and to understand people are different. The coaching and support a leader does is necessary to develop his or her people in becoming effective. The people will transcend from individuals into a team if lead properly. The very essence of leadership is giving energy in a form of service to others. This may require a paradigm change from some. But, if we keep the best interests of our people in mind, we will be serving them. They will in turn be loyal and productive people. To win the loyalty of your people, you must first be loyal to them. To win the trust of your people, you must first trust them. Trust is not given easily.
To add the wisdom of experience requires a couple of other factors to consider when leading people. These factors are common sense and intuition. Sometimes you must follow an internal voice when accomplishing a certain task or activity. The internal voice is often your wisdom of common sense or intuition. Always be willing to listen and to learn from experience. A leader must maintain an open attitude and consider the opinions of others.
True leadership has a number of activities that must be accomplished. Besides being people oriented a leader must also be task focused. A true leader is considering the job at hand. Below are some other activities or considerations that must be accomplished:
- Actively Planning
- Problem Solving
- Facilitating Action
- Developing Ideas
- Creating Positive Energy
- Taking Responsibility
- Setting the Example
As one becomes a leader there are a number of terms that come to mind to describe a leader; genuine, outstanding, great, effective, wise, and true. To gain these various titles of distinction in the leadership realm, a leader must follow the suggestions within this article. As one leads others remember to listen to people's concerns. Listen to what their desires and needs are. Service to your people is a must in leadership. It is also the right thing to do.
Again: To be a genuine, outstanding, great, effective, wise, and true leader of people follow the information provided in this article!
- J. Donald Walters, The Art of Leadership, MJF Books, New York, New York, 1987
Al Mozingo is the author of over 300 articles and has taught over 2,500 classes, seminars, workshops, and conferences. Mr. Mozingo is a nationally known leadership instructor that can provide training to your organization in Basic Leadership and Advanced Leadership. In addition, Mr. Mozingo is a Certified Instructor for Phi Theta Kappa Leadership Development Course and in a four-course college program entitled: California Public Safety Leadership and Ethics Program. Please take a look at his web site for his offerings today.