Sunday, September 18, 2016

“Leadership Master” Book Tuning: Three “Dos & Don’t” in Leadership Classification

Do not categorize leadership via the difference on the surface, but based on strength, insight, and influence.

The function of leaders is to LEAD- set direction, drive changes, make influences, foster motivation, guide the problem solving. Leadership is not just about the title only, that all of us, to the degree, we take responsibility for our own sphere of influence, no matter what formal title we might hold or not, have the opportunity to lead at the different level and exercise leadership influence continually. Here are three “Do & Don’t”s principles in leadership classification?

Do not just categorize leadership seniority based on the title or age, but based on the profundity of leadership insight and influence: People tend to make leadership very complex, but in its most simple form, leadership is an influence. Senior executives are not just in ceremonial or administrative management positions, they are visionary and innovative roles. Because leadership is all about future and change, and visionary leadership is crucial to zoom into the future as if it were closer. Digital leadership needs to be highly intelligent and highly influential due to the increasing change and complexity. All great leaders are continually looking for ways to take themselves and their people to the next level. Very often managers think that the way to motivate employees are the same things they themselves are motivated by, but each individual is unique. Leaders need to know their staff well and provide opportunities in the workplace for staff to unleash their potential and improve their career satisfaction. This is useful when defining leadership roles and levels when identifying leader development areas, and when assessing leadership insight, skills, and experience. Leaders do need to focus on the bottom line but also apply visionary and strategic thinking, be both explorers and experts, plus enthusiasm, with unique personal leadership styles.

Do not simply categorize leadership based on genders or races, but based on leadership strengths and cognitive differences: Cognition can happen in many different ways and their combinations. Enhancing our “description of the world and ourselves within it” is cognition and differs from ordinary, and usually habitual thoughts. If you categorize leadership only based on the physical differences on the surface, that can get lost in the profound understanding of the diversity, even divide leadership and create new gaps, misunderstanding leadership inclusiveness and decrease leadership effectiveness. Because the identifiable sectors reflecting (say, gender, age, and ethnicity) themselves each encompass a wide range of diversity of thought and distinctive leadership strengths. By simply appointing representatives of each sector to the leadership teams may well add some degree of diversity, and yet possibly fall considerably short of the breadth of diversity properly sought, as the diversity of thought more often does not come from the diverse physical identity; but from one’s thought processes, cognitive differences, thinking and learning habits, experiences or skill/capability sets.

Either categorize or practice leadership, do not make it too complicated, or overly simplify it as well. Do follow the principle: Everything should be as simple as possible, but not simpler: When people try to neatly and distinctly package, characterize, and compartmentalize the traits, skills, competencies, IQs and EQs of leaders and managers, they tend to oversimplify their purpose, role, and function. What is more important: Having a catalog of traits or gauging the impact- the effectiveness and efficiency of leadership and management on followers and organizations? In addition, there is understandably tension sometimes between the creative leadership and the administrative management, the point is: effective leadership, whether artistic or administrative, involves creativity. Besides discovering and refining your leadership strength, Identify your leadership blind spots, and learn to be a deep thinker, a cool-headed observer, and a great listener is critical. Besides soft quality, the hard core of leadership is knowledge, insight, and wisdom in order to make sound judgments and solid decisions. With leadership effectiveness, the result can be brilliant corporate achievements.

Leadership is all about change, but there are so many variables to leverage in leadership effectiveness. Regardless how you categorize leadership, what keeps leaders successful cross-functional/company/industrial borders, cross-geographical territories, or cross-generational differences, is their intellectual curiosity and ability to continuously be open to learning and applying these learnings as they move forward to make leadership influence and grow many more authentic leaders to bridge today and future seamlessly.


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