Character of a leader: defining leadership

Can anyone become a leader? Can a person develop his or her leadership abilities in the absence of, but strong desire for them? Is it possible, on the contrary, not to show your leadership talents if you don't want to? Even if another leader is leading into the abyss? In other words, is leadership a choice or a given?

Character of a leader: defining leadership

These are all trick questions, as the answers depend on what exactly is meant by leadership. In all cases, however, it is worth reflecting on the appropriateness of this role for oneself.

In this text, leadership is social influence. If you said, "Follow me!" and people went, you are a leader. If they didn't, they didn't. Everyone can be a kind of leader, just not in all groups and cases. There are many conclusions from this, and we'll talk about them below.

Why would they follow you at all? Why do they follow you? Because you ripped your heart out to light the way, or because you raised Excalibur above your head? Don't be fooled, leadership is a group need. A team, the existence of which benefits the participants (that is, not every group), needs to define collective action. Since our species has not yet evolved to a collective consciousness, we need someone to follow.

And how is this someone defined? Is he the strongest, smartest, most cunning and charismatic? Or is he the most comfortable for the participants? Is he just out of the way? Or, finally, does he or she share and represent the common interests of the team?

Life happens in many different ways. What is required of a leader:

Communication skills;willingness to invest time and effort;experience in difficult negotiations with participants;Ability to make concessions;responsibility for the outcome of events (this is the main thing).

What do leaders get? The leader's dividends include the fact that he or she expands his or her sphere of influence in the group and thus increases the range of resources he or she receives, including:

credit for his or her decisions;the power to coordinate team members;the ability to distribute resources;high status.

What specifics does the office space bring to all this?

Here it is customary to separate leadership and management as formal leadership. The leader is chosen by the people, while the leader is chosen by the organization.

This is called "the power of the badge" - he was not chosen, but placed by intermediaries: the human resources or the tops. He has yet to assume the leadership role. In companies, we often deal with managers who have leadership ambitions and naively believe that they manage the team. Hence, there are many problems.

Character of a leader: defining leadership

How Leaders Behave

Is it possible to manage oneself? Self-control is definitely a valuable and socially desirable quality. Often personal example is defined through it. But we make impulsive purchases, we have temper tantrums, we lose our temper, we do things that are not appropriate for us when we are stressed. We all have our own particular nervous system. So we can only get to know ourselves better and influence our own behavior. Sometimes.

So is it then possible to control people? Existentialism teaches us that when sent to the gallows, a slave can swallow his tongue and thus avoid execution. So we don't even govern prisoners, let alone office workers. How, then, do leaders behave if they cannot govern people directly? They get involved in politics.

The most natural way to become a leader is to represent someone else's interests. It doesn't matter how old you are or where you went to school. What matters is whether you carry out the interests of followers and stakeholders. To do this:

    Gather a 360-degree pool of needs: from management, customers, representatives from other departments, and your peers.Put together an action plan that addresses the top requests.Present the vision and justify what has been taken into account and what will be taken into account in the future and why something cannot be achieved yet.Implement the plan by guiding the people who follow you, because this is the way to the common interest that includes their own.

How do you implement this policy? Each person has his or her own style. Kurt Lewin identified three leadership styles:


But we are not going to describe them in detail here, a lot has already been said about that. You should know your style and develop the rest. Here's why: Levine has done studies in which he showed that leadership style affects:

on the timing of work;team climate - more or less aggressive;the quality of work - especially when team members analyze the task beyond the instructions.

That is, the leader must be aware of the possibilities and limitations of his or her style of work. For example, the authoritarian style is good in primitive activities and crisis management: when it is necessary to draw water from a sinking ship or to prepare accounts. Democratic - in most other cases. And connivance is indispensable in creative production of independent performers or mini-groups. In the post about prioritization we discussed what tasks a leader should delegate.

Character of a leader: defining leadership

The Costs and Benefits of Leadership

Can we think of leadership as a kind of business? You provide services to the group and produce solutions to meet the group's needs. Then it's appropriate to talk about return on investment.

A leader's dividend can be calculated in several ways:

finances (leadership function is rare and encouraged);access to resource management;political weight and support;ability to lead his or her own line;autonomy, independence of the plan-schedule;Future demand for the leader;attention.


Community service - possibly unpaid, requiring a constant tone of mind;commitment and responsibility;The need to be involved in all processes (as much as possible);having to compete with other leaders;the requirement to ensure the organization of people's work on organizational technology.

According to the great psychologists, a person strives for power - sometimes unconsciously. Often he gives more than he receives, but subjectively rationalizes this, e.g.: "I can't do it any other way." It is clear that he can, if one parses the case individually.

In addition, some goals are misguided. For example, there are misconceptions about growth in a company. A company needs not only leaders, but also experts-individuals. Sometimes they earn even more than leaders.

In the end, for ROI to become positive, it all comes down to a formula:

Understand what you want.Analyze what you're doing now and how to adjust it.Put new processes into practice as a project.Monitor the effectiveness of the new processes by resorting to supervision.

Not all leaders are actually invested and make a difference. For example, charismatic leadership is most often destructive. Charisma is the ability to behave in such a way that others think you know what you are doing. When a two-hour, multimillion-dollar movie devotes five minutes of timing to Brad Pitt eating or Meryl Streep flipping through magazines, it works solely on charisma. You watch it and you think, "That's the way to do it. In movies, maybe, but in life?

If you don't know where you're going, you put people at risk. But people will follow you if there are no other worthy leaders.

So how do you optimally use leadership techniques to coordinate a team? With situational leadership, the most popular and recognized technique in the world.

Character of a leader: defining leadership

Situational Leadership

Messrs. Hersey and Blanchard pointed out that a leader is not defined by his traits, but by the situation and the group. The same leader cannot be accepted as a leader in other people's teams and some situations, that is, leadership is not universal.

Let us simulate the situation: Plato, Thatcher, Robbins, Suvorov, and Petya are in the room. The fire alarm sounds. Only Petya knows the evacuation plan. Everyone listens to Petya.

It's the same with the teams where you were or are the leader. If you swap people with other units, will you remain a leader there? Even if you leave the field of activity, it's not a fact.

That's how the Hersey-Blanchard theory of situational leadership came about. And the first thing they suggest you lean on is the types of members of your team in the activity. Consider two dichotomies: competencies and motivations. So we get four types of employees from combinations of two: want to work - don't want to work, can work - can't work:


An HCNM comes into the company. He won't be able to immediately navigate people, terminology, and processes, even if he's not young professionally. He needs an adequate adaptation program. If there is one, then after some time we will get a KM - an autonomous specialist. The adaptation period depends on the activity: in manufacturing and science it often exceeds three months, and in service areas it can be shorter.

If we don't pay enough attention to the newcomer's immersion, we will get HCNM. And a managerial decision will have to be made: keep or fire. If a professional is rare or needed urgently, and it takes a long time to find one, then we will have to keep him and retrain him from the negative value.

Another scenario. If you're not careful enough to work with XM, you can get some of the most difficult participants on your team - HCMs. They can be cocky or undermined, but they don't always show it. More often than not, it shows up at the most inopportune moment. They may sabotage activities or simply walk away to a competitor.

What about the myth that a good manager only has to work four hours a week (month, year, life)? It's only deal with types of employees - a job for a few days, and in fact catch the basic idea of the approach has already guessed that one employee has several types in different activities. For example, to go get ice cream - all XM.

As Darwin was followed by a modern classic, "Survival of the fittest, but the wobbler wins. Today there are no megalodons or tyrannosaurs, but there are plenty of insects, rodents, and humans. Adaptability is the key to our survivability. Our species exists because of our ability to organize cooperative activities, i.e. to negotiate with different people. Therefore, we learn not only to identify the type of employee, but also to apply the leadership styles that are appropriate for him or her.

Four situational leadership styles discovered by Hersey and Blanchard and loosely renamed by the author:

Instructional - for HNM. Working with the employee like a driving instructor: lots of specific tasks, control, and feedback.

Rehabilitative - for NHNMs. Like a physical therapist with a car accident victim learning to walk again. Using an instructional style, becoming a good mentor, but only after convincing the employee that they can handle it, they will be helped, they are hoped for, they will not be fired.

Motivational - for NHM. Like a good friend: giving the employee a shoulder to lean on when he or she fails and making a correct reprimand when he or she behaves inappropriately - as I wrote earlier in my post about conflictology.

Demanding is for the HM. As an Olympian coach: attention to form and ambitious goals as part of the business and employee development strategy are important here.

Often managerial problems arise because people are looking for where the light is, not where the loss is. Consulting allows you to identify your leaders' styles psychodiagnostically and your employee types empirically. And do a reasonable reshuffling of leaders between teams, as well as to train the laggards in the necessary leadership styles. Then you might have a kind of team typology: staff forge, mixed team, first team, and others. For these, you will select the right leaders.

Everything described above is about leading. And not everyone wants to be led, even if they realize they need to be. Especially in the twenty-first century. So we'll look at another approach to leadership.

Character of a leader: defining leadership

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership is leadership that transforms culture, behavior, and product. It requires a more humane, individualized approach, as I discussed in my post on emotional intelligence. In part, it involves a coaching toolkit.

Coaching is primarily about managing questions instead of answers. It's like you're leading the person to go on their own instead of leading them on their own. I, as a leader, become the one who is well thought of, about whom the depth and meaning of what is happening is felt. In this way, belonging and the possibility of self-development are actualized.

Ask questions like this:

What are you really capable of?Why are you working here?Why don't you quit everything?What do you want to change?What would you do for free?What have you already done on your own initiative?What would you be willing to go the extra mile for?Is there any of that in the office?How can you bring it here?

People answer questions like this when they feel a real opportunity to embody their values. Then they're ready to transform the space. And for them to open up, you have to believe in people. It's complicated. Remember, "Too strange to live, but too rare to die." Maybe your co-workers seem average, ordinary at first glance. But that's because you don't see them up close and personal. Everyone can surprise you. Take a closer look, get to know them.

Another transformational leadership tool is thought leadership. We're all familiar with the slogan Think different. But it's just the end of a peculiar value message that the Jobs team came up with:

"Praise the madmen! Rebels, troublemakers, losers. Those who are always out of time and out of place. Those who see the world differently. They don't follow the rules. They laugh at the rules. You can quote them, argue with them, praise or curse them. But it is impossible to ignore them because they bring change. They push humanity forward. And if someone says, "madmen," we say, "geniuses. Because only a madman believes he can change the world, and so he changes it.

When Steve Jobs got his first investment, he needed the best engineers, but there was no way to outbid them. They were already working for his competitors. So he invited them to work with him to change the world.

You want to cut costs and create mediocre general merchandise while building margins for corporations, go to HP. You want to change the world, be part of a team of troublemakers - then follow me! And some did.

By flying the pirate flag and declaring war on the world, Jobs gave people the opportunity to join the great, to become part of something bigger than they are on their own. They were willing to do a lot for that. Even put up with it.

Finally, another way of transformational leadership that gives the best approach to building quality is intellectual stimulation. These are above all work teams with ambitious goals, quality circles, and conversations in which people answer questions:

Where are we going wrong?What are the wrong assumptions in our tactics?What should we change in our strategy because of the new challenges of our time?How can we do with fewer resources?How can we make the product more efficient?If there was a way to do it in fewer iterations, how?

People like to solve complex problems. It's a game, a competition, and a way to test themselves. Give your colleagues these opportunities, and you can at least say: at least I tried.

Business and Finance terms

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