Who is a Leader? Difficult question. There have been thousands of literatures and millions of materials on leadership. The reality is that there is still a lacuna in dealing with the complexity this ‘monster’ called leadership posits to the workplace if not society. There should be an important surgery to the kind of followers, the type of situation and more importantly, the leader. The leader doesn’t stop leading. Leadership is always a process. Inducing involves influencing, inspiring, motivating, managing, learning, teaching, building, creating, enterprising, giving and selflessly offering oneself for the benefit of a family, team and society at large.
“Learn as you live. You start dying when you stop learning. Just get the basics right”
A leader must be intelligent and competent. A leader must have strong values and respect for others. A leader must respect policies, principles and exceed targets for self and team. Certainly not a cheer-leader, not a country club manager and definitely not a figure head. The leader sees. He walks the path. He leads the team. He directs the team not because the followers want to but because they have to. There should be a personal responsibility, commitment and motivation for members in the team knowing that followers are leaders because every leader has once been a follower. Confirm with the Mobius strip. As a matter of fact, good leaders used to be good followers. Leadership is a bit of an art and a bit of science. You need to build the emotional and rational sides to have a firm grip on leadership. On the Leadership journey, you should be prepared to put on a CEO hat any day.
In a workshop, a facilitator said; you don’t have to do anything exceptional. Sometimes you don’t have to even do anything new. Just get the basics right. As usual some asked, so what are the basics? Learning to do the right things and doing the right things by learning.
Getting the basics right towards leadership development is by learning. Learning must be an attitude. It should run through your bloodstreams and must be an integral part of you. Learn everything at the workplace and know that learning is an attitude. Learning is fundamentally process. The very day you stop learning shall be the very day you start dying. You don’t have to stop investing in yourself. Your qualification may take you there but learning sustains you. In getting the basics right, know that learning is an art. Get tacit knowledge. I mean get more on the job. It is as crucial as formal learning. There are always opportunities at the workplace, from the palace to fields. In the past, people learn because perhaps they don’t know. Now, you learn because you know. People want to add more knowledge because they have knowledge. In knowing, my advice is that you focus on the right things.
If you don’t learn to do the right things, people will do it for you. What it means is that you will never catch up because the foundation shall be grazed off. There won’t be any opportunity for growth. Remember, if you don’t do it, someone else will get it done and always take your beautiful story from you. Do it yourself and tell your own story. When you identify a potential deal, learn to go for the kill. Go after it yourself. Until the lion learns to tell its own story, the hunter will always be touted a hero, as always said. The Lion is a leader but if it fails to tell its story, the hunter will be glorified.
In getting the basics right, always remember that no leader can solve all the issues at the workplace. Leaders get help. To get to the top, wear the CEO hat at least once a week to appreciate corporate happenings. See the bigger picture. Don’t be one-sided if you want to obtain good results in management. Appreciate the good, the bad and the ugly or the unexpected. Think shareholder, think CEO, think employee and think customer.
Learn to deliver at all cost. Take ownership of situations, issues and assets of your institutions. You have no idea when it will be yours. Learn to kill bad habits and allow your egos to go through the mill by lowering your hypes and getting down to basics. It takes more than just courage to admit that you don’t know the basics. Get courage and start again. For it is better to live like a hungry tiger than to die like a ‘belly-full’ pussy. Sorry. Just wear tough skins. Learn through it and ask for help when you need one. Get down to it. Get the basics right. Do it consistently and sharpen your skills.
To get the basics right practically, try reading all policies in your first month of joining any company and you’ll surely have control of your decisions as long as you stay. I don’t want to get sunk in the argument of whether leaders are born, moulded or fully made. I’ve heard enough. But I know that leaders create new paths for others to follow. Interestingly, leaders may fall but they grow from experiences and become stronger. Leaders may fail too, but they grow wiser. It’s better to do something with your life and fail than to sit and rot in shame. A leader will always improve self, teams, organization, community, society, a nation and the world. Just get the basics right, be ready to learn and know that everything depends on you.
For this is Leadership!
Author: Richard Kwarteng Ahenkorah
Principal Trainer, Eagle Knowledge Institute || Author: Your Journey To The Top