In business those involved in managing processes and resources have leadership
The main priority of a good leader is to get the job done whatever the job is. Leaders
make things happen by:
• knowing their objectives and having a plan how to achieve them
• building a team committed to achieving the objectives
• helping each team member to give their best efforts
Leaders must know their strengths and weaknesses, so that they can build the best
team around them.
Leadership skills are based on leadership behaviour. Skills alone do not make
leaders - style and behaviour do. Leadership is mostly about behaviour, especially
towards others. People who strive for these things generally come to be regarded
and respected as a leader by their people:
• Integrity - the most important requirement; without it everything else is for
• Being very grown-up - never getting emotional with people - no shouting or
• Leading by example – being seen to be working harder and more
determinedly than anyone else.
• Helping alongside people when they need it.
• Fairness - treating everyone equally and on merit.
• Being firm and clear in dealing with bad or unethical behaviour.
• Listening to and really understanding people, and showing understanding
(understanding is different to agreeing).
• Taking the responsibility and blame for the team’s mistakes.
• Giving people the credit for successes.
• Backing up and supporting the team.
• Be decisive, but being seen to be making fair and balanced decisions.
• Asking for peoples’ views, but remaining neutral and objective.
• Being honest but sensitive in the ways that give bad news or criticism.
• Keeping your promises.
• Working hard to become expert technically, and understanding people' s
technical abilities and challenges.
• Encouraging people to grow, learn and take on as much as they want to, at a
pace they can handle.
• Accentuating the positive (saying ' it like this'not ' t do it like that'
do , don' ).
• Smiling and encouraging others to be happy and enjoy themselves.
• Relaxing and giving people time to get to know and respect each other.
• Taking notes and keeping good records.
• Planing and prioritisation.
• Managing time well and helping others to do so too.
• Involving people in decisions especially in managing change.
• Achieving the company tasks and objectives, but never at the cost of integrity
or the trust of people.
Jack Welch (2001) respected business leader and writer is quoted as proposing
these fundamental leadership principles
1. There is only one way - the straight way. It sets the tone of the organisation.
2. Be open to the best of what everyone, everywhere, has to offer; transfer
learning across your organisation.
3. Get the right people in the right jobs - it is more important than developing a
4. An informal atmosphere is a competitive advantage.
5. Make sure everybody counts and everybody knows they count.
6. Legitimate self-confidence is a winner - the true test of self-confidence is the
courage to be open.
7. Business has to be fun - celebrations energise and organisation.
8. Never underestimate the other guy.
9. Understand where real value is added and put your best people there.
10. Know when to meddle and when to let go - this is pure instinct.
Kouzes and Posner (1987) identified five leadership practices and suggested ten
behavioural commitments among those successful leaders they studied.
Practice: Challenge the process
Commitments: (1) Search for opportunities and (2) Experiment and take risks
Practice: Inspire a shared vision
Commitments: (3) Envision the future and (4) Enlist others
Practice: Enable others to act
Commitments: (5) Foster collaboration and (6) Strengthen others
Practice: Model the way to the desired objectives
Commitments: (7) Set the example and (8) Plan small wins
Practice: Encourage the heart of everyone involved
Commitments: (9) Recognise individual contribution and (10) Celebrate
Blanchard and Hersey (1969) characterised leadership style in terms of the amount
of direction and of support that the leader gives to his or her followers.
• Directing - Leaders define the roles and tasks of the ' ,
follower' and supervise
them closely. The leader makes decisions and these are given, so
communication is largely one-way.
• Coaching - Leaders still define roles and tasks, but seeks ideas and
suggestions from the follower. Decisions remain the leader' prerogative, but
communication is much more two-way.
• Supporting - Leaders pass day-to-day decisions, such as task allocation and
processes, to the follower. The leader facilitates and takes part in decisions,
but control is with the follower.
• Delegating - Leaders are still involved in decisions and problem solving, but
control is with the follower. The follower decides when and how the leader will
Effective leaders are versatile in being able to adapt their style according to the
situation, so there is no one right style. However, everyone has a preferred style.