You have almost certainly been told how important leadership and leadership skills are in business. You have probably also heard that there is a significant gap in the leadership needed and the amount and quality of leadership training in business today. According to the Global Leadership Forecast 2021, 55% of CEOs surveyed say that “developing the next generation of leaders” is a top concern. Conversely, only 48% of business leaders “rate their organization’s leadership as high.” Worse yet, only 28% of Human Resource professionals believe their companies “have high-quality leadership.”
So obviously, leadership is important in business, and we all could be doing it better, but why should you care about leadership? If you are a small business owner with no employees, or working for someone else and not a manager, why do good leadership skills matter?
Never Truly Alone
First, unless we live in a cave in the wilderness, hunting and foraging for food and never interacting with other humans (if you’re reading this, chances are this is not you) then we are never truly alone. If we are going to accomplish our own goals or meet the expectations our job places on us, we often must persuade and motivate others to help us.
Working in a corporate job, we often need to collaborate with others who have their own purpose and objectives. Most likely, their top priority is not to help us achieve our goal. They have their own priorities that their boss has given them, but we need their help to complete our own. In this case, we have no leverage over people that we don’t supervise, but still need their help. We need to practice good leadership skills to bring coworkers along to work as a team even if it’s not their top priority. Good communication skills are key to this kind of leadership when we need to highlight to others in the organization that spending some time and effort on a different priority is best for everyone in the long run.
Small business owners often must depend on collaborating with other business owners to create win-win situations where both businesses benefit from the combined effort. It takes solid leadership skills to find appropriate strategic partners, propose a mutually beneficial arrangement, negotiate terms, and ensure everyone involved follows through on their role. The most successful alliances between businesses are not a result of chance or being in the right place at the right time but come from two savvy founders practicing good leadership to achieve success together.
Executing A Vision
The main reason we build teams is to accomplish things we can’t do by ourselves. Human beings have an amazing ability to form social groups, but those groups can also descend into conflict very easily. You can learn more about how these conflicts arise in Common Causes of Conflict Among Groups. It takes strong leadership to find and address these sources of conflict to help members of the team to keep working in harmony.
When those social groups come together, not everyone agrees on the best course of action and if everyone is left to their own devices, the group will most likely fall apart without achieving the goal. Someone needs to show leadership to set and communicate a vision for the group. Setting and maintaining standards of performance and behavior are critical to keeping a team together and moving towards the overall objective. It’s not just enough to have a great idea, you must step up as a leader if you want to attract and retain the best people to join you on your journey to achieve something great!
One way that so-called leaders try to execute their vision is through fear and intimidation. They hold the threat of negative consequences like firing or docking pay and benefits to get their team to comply. These techniques often get results in the short-term but can backfire on the leader. Leading through fear leads to high turnover rates, lack of innovation and creativity, and negative attitudes in the workplace. If you see people leaving your team or doing the bare minimum with a checked-out attitude, you may be in a downward spiral that you can’t pull out of. Practicing good leadership skills can avoid these problems and turn your business into a place where people are begging to come work for you and be part of what you’re doing.
What if you don’t have a vision you want to achieve and no need to persuade anyone else to do anything for you? There’s nothing wrong with that. You can still benefit from learning effective leadership techniques. Leading ourselves is one of the most important challenges in leadership. Before we can lead others, we need to have mastery over ourselves, or at least be striving for it. Developing great leadership qualities like self-discipline, good communication and attention to detail are skills that will serve us well even if we are not trying to lead others.
In today’s world it’s east to get frustrated with others when we see them acting in a way we don’t like. Many people address that problem by confronting others and creating more conflict. While less satisfying in the short them that giving someone a piece of our mind, a more effective way to influence others behavior is by setting he example we’d like to see others follow through our own words and actions.
Leadership is for Everyone
Practicing great leadership isn’t just for President’s, CEOs, and Generals. We tend to think about leaders as people who achieve really amazing things when the stakes are high. The truth is that all the great leaders we admire started their leadership journey early in their careers. They understood the power that applying good leadership skills has to inspire others into making the world a better place. We can all benefit from following their example and incorporating smart leadership practices into our own lives. Whether we want to build a successful business, manage our team effectively, or just have better relationships with our friends and family, taking a conscious approach to developing our own leadership skills will pay dividends on our lives in the future.
Global Leadership Forecast 2021 https://www.ddiworld.com/global-leadership-forecast-2021
Common Causes of Conflict Among Groups https://smallbusiness.chron.com/common-causes-conflict-among-groups-744.html