Learning a set of guidelines for leadership is quite normal for the student of management, but the real test of leadership potential-for students and managers-is learning how to put such guidelines into practice. The first step, of course, is knowing each guideline and appreciating the rationale for each one. Then, through introspection, perform a self-assessment to see how closely your normal behavior matches the guidelines. When you see a discrepancy you want to work on, you’ll be able to deter- mine how to go about the task of self- improvement.
As you study the following set of guide- lines, keep this fact in mind: Effective leaders are made, not born.
Maintain respect. ”How familiar should I be with my subordinates?” is a question that must be faced squarely by all managers. It’s well known that extreme familiarity between a manager and a subordinate can be detrimental to both. The proper relationship between a manager and a subordinate can be stated as one of mutual respect. As a manager, you must respect the human dignity of your sub- ordinates. If you set the proper example, and if you have integrity, you’ll be respected in turn for who you are and what you do.
To be an effective leader, you must stimulate people to follow. First, you arouse in others the impulse to follow. Then, you must guide that impulse through a good working relationship, until finally your subordinates follow your directions out of respect for you.
Be responsive to the needs of others. To be an effective leader, you must be responsive to the immediate and future needs of your subordinates and associates. You can’t, of course, be all things to all people. You must learn, however, to be sensitive or receptive to the wants and needs of your subordinates.
Work effectively with people. How you handle people in your everyday work situation is a test of the effectiveness of your leadership. Remember that management is getting things done through people. You won’t measure up to this definition of management if you can’t use human resources properly.
Good leadership recognizes the importance of good human relations; it recognizes that all human beings are individuals and as such, must receive individual attention. Good leadership recognizes what level of job performance is needed to attain objectives, and it then willingly exerts influence to bring about that performance.
Have high motivation. Motivation is the proper use of stimuli to gain a desired reaction. If you, the manager, are to stimulate motivation in others, you must first demonstrate your own high degree of motivation.
Since motivation comes from within, the degree of it you possess depends upon what kind of individual you are. As a leader, you should have an intense desire to get things done and to involve others in the process.
You can motivate yourself in much the same way that you motivate others. To motivate others, you first determine their wants and desires. You do the same thing to motivate yourself; you turn your eyes inward and analyze yourself. After you discover what makes you want to move ahead, you must
capitalize on your strong points and minimize your weak points.
Be knowledgeable if you’re a leader, you’re expected to know more than your followers, and to be able to give them answers. If your followers can supply more answers to you than you can supply to them, who then is the leader? In order to have the answers, you must plan constantly to keep abreast of the total work situation. This includes having a knowledge of what’s happened in the past, what’s happening now, and what’s likely to happen in the future. You must have general information, detailed systems and procedures information, and an under- standing of the techniques used in the total organization.
Be enthusiastic and inspired Enthusiasm and inspiration are characteristics of moving leadership. It has been said, and rightly, that enthusiasm is contagious. If one person is enthusiastic, people in the work group will tend to catch his or her enthusiasm. The same is true of inspiration. If you lack inspiration and enthusiasm, you cannot hope to have inspired, enthusiastic followers.
It’s true that even without inspiration and enthusiasm you can achieve a degree of effectiveness by following all of the other guidelines of effective leadership. But it’s these two qualities that make the difference between a good leader and a great one.
Use every available resource. The leader who accomplishes the most and moves the fastest is the one who recognizes and uses every available resource-people, equipment, and capital. Leaders who fail to make full use of all the available resources will ultimately hinder their own progress, the progress of others, and the progress of the organization as a whole. Effective leaders can immediately recognize the use to which each resource can be put, and can then properly mesh the resource with other resources to attain their goals.
Capitalize on the leadership given to you. Within each organization there are other leaders and there’s an environment that can be helpful to you. You must not be afraid to capitalize on a favorable organizational environment. Realize what your responsibilities are and what they aren’t. Try to relate your- self to the organizational structure, to see just where you fit into the jigsaw puzzle. Then make use of the direction given to you by other effective leaders. Capitalize on good examples. Adapt effective techniques to your own personality. Avoid making the mistakes you see being made by others.
Source: Industrial Management Course