Monday, November 23, 2015

Is Leadership Situational

A fundamental purpose of leadership is to provide vision and empower change.

In substance, leadership is all about future, about change, about progress and innovation. Leaders set principles, open to criticism, and take the risk for innovation. Leadership is composed of three characteristics: substance, skills, and styles, what are the golden ratio of leadership, though? In practice, is digital leadership “harder” or “softer”? generic or situational?

Leadership is a skill within itself and the greatest leaders are authentic to continue discovering who they are. Perhaps the greatest example of a great leader is staring right back at each of us in the mirror. Being a leader and  practicing leadership is not a job title as so often we have been taught to believe; rather, becoming a leader is a process of becoming your true authentic self in all that you are today. So rather than looking for examples of leaders out there, look within yourself and ask: Why do you want to lead, and are you the person/leader you wish to see in the world?

Part of greatness is identifying and exploring one's strengths and isolating one's weaknesses. A part of being a good leader is experience and know-how. We can say that great leaders failed many times and kept getting up. Persistence, tenacity, and conviction can lead to eventual greatness and has in many cases of great leaders. These are commendable qualities in a great leader. Greatness can never be kept hidden, it just 'has to' rise up. This includes great leadership. However saying that there are some situations that can delay the rise. These include such things as social and cultural issues as well as being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Some use leadership training as a way to bring people to “see,” and harness the “flame within” so that they can use it for a subjective goal. Leadership starts on a very personal level and is communicated outward onto the followers in such a way that the followers follow the leader in achieving a goal.

As per the “circumstance” point of view, there is “situational leadership” styles and methods. Great leadership is not just situational, it is affected by context, culture, including capability and resources, and the means to an end, rather than just defined by the end result. When analyzed, some failures are typically due to a gap between current capability or resource and what is needed to accomplish the mission or achieve the immediate objective, rather than an absence of the qualities or practices which have made that individual successful in another set of circumstances. Also, the power of leaders who influence and effectively bring people with them to achieve great things might not be measurable simply by what is achieved but in the WHY (vision) and how it is achieved (strategy and implementation).

Circumstances create sets of conditions that evoke leadership in individuals who are inclined and ready to take the lead. Many great leaders can provide cases when they have failed miserably. As a matter of fact, most great leaders have situations where their results were labeled a failure. There are many examples of people who are considered successful in their fields who have, at notable times, exercised judgment resulting in undesirable results. But often those individuals learned from their mistakes, implemented strategies and changes to ensure success the next time around, and from that point on, their successes overshadowed any past failures and also, the individual may keep learning agile, have adjusted the direction, and fumble the way up to success. Either way, an ongoing process of self-reflection, the incorporation of lessons learned and the realization of "it isn't the failure that keeps you out of the game, but how you respond to it," leads to success stories being published as opposed to failures being repeated. Also, there are leadership qualities and practices which inspire effective followership no matter the circumstances.

Leadership training should be a process of empowerment through. Leadership training should focus on empowering people with a know-how, and teach them how to empower others. Often  leadership training courses sound more like management training courses. Leadership training should focus on providing the participants with the “tools” to self-empowerment and the empowerment of others. Reducing leadership to title or administrative tasks might cause people to miss the point of “leadership” altogether. The management / leadership paradox is rampant and has caused many clashes between the management school of thought and the leadership schools of thought. Management is mechanical, statistical, and procedural. Leadership, on the other hand, is fluid and nature, hence, it takes into account the diversity of the human element. And the managers or organizers are not necessarily a leader. As a prognosis, the first element is understanding what “leadership” is in a particular organizational setting. Once leadership has been defined in context, only then can we know which “tool” to provide to the participants.

There is a saying that there are leadership opportunities at any given point in time where one or more people congregate to achieve a goal. This would support the “circumstantiality” between leadership and achievement. Great leadership is generic to set visions and lead transformation. Great leaders should also have the breadth of leadership skills and wisdom to handle many situations. It’s also important to keep the personal leadership style as well because every leader is unique. Be authentic, be influential, and be mature.


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