n essence, the heart of the leadership challenge that confronts
today’s leaders is learning how to lead in situations of ever
greater volatility and uncertainty in a globalised business
environment, allied with the needs to deal with scale, complexity
and new organisational forms that often break with the traditional
organisational models and structures within which many have
learned their ‘leadership trade’. So the basic assumption that past
experience is the key for future leadership success is more open
to scrutiny than ever.
Leadership is an art and a science. It is an art because it
continually evolves, changes form, and requires creativity. It
is a science because there are certain essential principles and
techniques required. A good leader knows when it is time to
change shape because they are highly attentive to those around
them. Coming from a position of strength, a great leader takes
risks by freeing up the creative genius in their followers to build
their capability and multiply the talents of the organization.This
leads to community and greatness. By powerfully communicating
a vision that animates, motivates, and inspires followers, a great
leader is able to transform his or her organization.
The New Realities: Results-Based Leadership
We are operating in a hypercompetitive business environment.
The world moves faster today when compared to 10 years ago.
Companies feel the pressure to decrease time to market and
improve the quality of products while delivering on ever-changing
customer expectations to maintain competitive posture – that
is, be adaptive and nimble. Driving results is difficult even for
companies who have the benefit of dedicated and knowledgeable
employees and business leaders to leverage.
In the early years leadership studies, the so-called “trait theory”
took the view that there is a set of traits that separates the
leader from the pack. Traits purported to be characteristic of
leaders included intelligence, a drive to dominate others, being
extroverted and having charisma. Today, people often point to
the importance of emotional intelligence in achieving leadership
what is now commonly known as emotional intelligence plays
a key role in determining success in life and in the workplace.
Recent research has uncovered links between specific elements
of emotional intelligence and specific behaviors associated with
leadership effectiveness and ineffectiveness.
Flexible leadership, however, involves being able to adapt your
leadership style according to the situation and the state of the
team - e.g.: taking charge when a team is forming but playing the
role of coach when a team is managing itself well.This is critical
in developing and sustaining employee engagement. There are
six distinct leadership styles, each one springing from different
components of emotional intelligence.
Organizations need leaders to visualize the future, motivate
and inspire employees, and adapt to changing needs. On-going
research indicates that, with the right leadership development
support including executive coaching, those with leadership
potential can be developed into outstanding leaders. Emotional
Intelligence competencies are perhaps the most challenging for
leaders to develop effectively and yet it is the one that often has
the most impact. As emotionally intelligent leaders rise through
the ranks of an organization, their profile becomes more visible
to employees and their increased power can have greater impact.
Conclusion: Connecting leadership and communication
A leader must be able to communicate effectively. When CEOs
and other senior executives in all industries and countries are
asked to list the most important skills a manager must possess,
the answer consistently includes good communication skills.
Effective communication is an essential element of leadership.
Leaders are communication champions who inspire and unite
people around a common sense of purpose and identity. They
lead strategic conversations that get people talking across
boundaries about the vision, key strategic themes, and the values
that can help the group or organization achieve desired outcomes.
Leader communication is purpose-directed, and an important
element is persuading others to act in ways that achieve goals
and accomplish vision. Four steps for practicing the art of
persuasion are to establish credibility, build goals on common
ground, make your position compelling, and connect with others
on an emotional level.
As an effective leader, communication is the primary and most
important tool. There is no substitute for good judgement, and
change leaders need to be reflective and thoughtful about the
ways they communicate. There is also no substitute for ‘Active
Listening’, and receiving feedback from the staff and colleagues
about how the leader communicates.
Prof Sattar Bawany
Senior Advisor of EduquestIndia Institute Pvt Ltd and CEO of Centre for Executive Education
“Good leaders make people feel that they’re at the very heart of things,not at the periphery.Everyone feels that
he or she makes a difference to the success of the organization.When that happens people feel centered and that
gives their work meaning”. - Warren G. Bennis, an American scholar, and Author of ‘On Becoming
a Leader’ and widely regarded as a pioneer of the contemporary field of Leadership studies.
The Author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
8 BUSINESS MANDATE | SEP-OCT 2013
FOUNTAINHEAD OF EXCELLENCE