Leadership: A Leaders Responsibilities Have Changed: Part 2

Just as all great athletes have a natural athletic ability, they still must study, practice and make a few mistakes; the same goes if you want to be a great leader. Investing in leadership development always pays off because while there may only be one big winner at the Olympics, companies are able to have many great leaders.

There are 20+ Leadership attributes to be a great leader that I explore, however, to keep this blog simple, here are 2 critical leadership styles. A great leader:

  • Has and shares a vision
  • Keeps project teams moving forward

The responsibility of a great leader is as a visionary, a communicator and a mentor, not a taskmaster.

Employees want to be proud, contribute and get better/learn. So, how do companies not only support/retain/mentor promising employees, but prepare employees to be their leaders in 1,2, 5 years? The simple answer is to invest in leadership training and leadership development.

A Leader Has And Shares A Vision

Leaders define goals, teams create project solutions.

An important trend we see in leadership style is to break larger projects into smaller projects (discussed in Part 1). Smaller projects can be managed more easily and they provide employees with an sense of achievement, creativity and collaboration.

Smaller projects also work well for people from different generations. For example, Millennial and Generation Z generations typically enjoy a faster pace and more frequent wins/accomplishments.

1 large project broken into 5 smaller projects.

1 large project broken into 5 smaller projects.

As tasks are broken down into smaller components, the overall vision of the project and the company must be clear to the leader and shared with the team members. Each team is set with a project – and yes, some team members may overlap and be on multiple project teams. Nevertheless, effective time management focuses each persons efforts.

The vision of the leader allows for each individual contribution to fit into the bigger corporate plan, even though the pieces are designed independently. Similar to how guitar strings are designed and manufactured in different places and perhaps different companies, they still sound as expected because standards are set and followed – they are part of a greater global vision.

A Leader Keeps Project Teams Moving Forward

The objective of the small, collaborative team is to make decisions quickly. Only if the team is stalled does the leader get involved or to remind the team of the goals and help them move on.

Define work goals before work begins.

  • The leader defines the goal.
  • The team decides what to do to achieve the goal.
  • The team estimates how much time the work will take.
  • The team decides how to do the work to achieve the goal.
  • The leader gets involved if the teams work will risk success but does not get involved if the team follows a path that’s different from how they would accomplish it.

What we find with a collaborative team is that the ideas are what become important – decisions are made based on merit of the idea vs. who had it. This often results in the smaller project exceeding expectations.

Leaders Lead – They Don’t Do

A common challenge we see is when leaders get busy doing the work their staff should be doing. As soon as that happens a leaders focus is taken away from their important work; project vision and supporting/retaining/mentoring employees. Also, the project solutions often become less creative, take more time and cost… why? Because instead of the best solution being adopted, the team feels pressure to adopt their leaders solution. Employee engagement also drops and employees have less pride in the solution (and this is a precursor to turnover of valuable talent).

Conclusion

Understanding generational differences at work is only one of the challenges leaders have, but it is important when a leader is working out how to keep valuable talent engaged. No matter what generation your employees belong to, having a clear vision and instilling a sense of pride and accomplishment is one of the best ways leaders can create value for customers and shareholders.

Happy leadership and communication.

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Bruce Mayhew Consulting coaches leaders and facilitates business etiquette courses including Business Writing, Email Etiquette, Time Management and Mindfulness.

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About Bruce Mayhew
Bruce Mayhew is a Leadership Coach, Keynote Speaker and Corporate Trainer who builds strong client and co-worker relationships that give clients a competitive advantage. Our training and development programs include: ■Generational Differences ■Effective Business Email Writing ■Email Etiquette ■Phone Etiquette ■Behaviour Event Interviewing (BEI) ■Mindfulness ■Using Linkedin to Build Client Relationships ■Objective Setting Made Easy

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