Leadership Makes the Difference

John Maxwell has a saying that everything rises and falls on leadership. There are various definitions of leadership. A simple definition says that leadership is “the position or function of a leader, a person who guides and directs a group” (Dictionary.com). We can add that leadership helps an organization to accomplish its strategic goals. The quality of leadership determines the success of an organization. Weak leadership can potentially undermine and destroy organizations while strong leadership can facilitate the success of organizations. There are numerous characteristics of weak leadership, which must be avoided.

Weak leadership lacks vision and purpose. Vision is a picture of where the organization needs to go and in some instances a picture of where the organization must go. Leaders must be forward looking while realistically assessing the status of the organization. The 21st century is a fast paced, rapidly changing period; everything seems to be in fluid motion. This is the context in which leaders have to operate. While there may be various ways to develop vision-such as reflection, praying, meditation, talking to others, assessing trends-leaders must find that vision. Likewise, leaders must have a strong sense of purpose. They must know why they are in the organization; they must know their role; they must know why the organization exists. Weak leaders’ struggle to find vision and purpose has a detrimental impact on an organization.

Weak leadership is characterized by poor relationships with others. The old adage says, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” A model of leadership that is totalitarian and treats people indifferently will not be successful over the long term. People are not commodities to be readily discarded when leaders feel they have outlived their usefulness. Strong leaders value people and invest in building win-win relationships that are mutually affirming and empowering. When people are treated well, they will generally be more productive and are more likely to be committed to their tasks and to the organization.

Weak leadership can often be attributed to insecurity. Weak leaders are plagued by self-doubt. They question their competence to get the job done. Unfortunately, they try to disguise this by pretending to be confident: a false sense of bravado that masks the fear inside. They tend to hinder the development and potential of others because they feel threatened by the success of others. Weak leaders are often afraid to take the risks that are essential to growth. They readily maintain the status quo because they are intimidated by and afraid of change. Strong leaders know who they are and are comfortable with who they are. They approach their responsibilities from a perspective of confidence without giving into the vice of arrogance.

Weak leadership is evident in the inability to resolve problems and conflicts. Weak leaders often have poorly developed problem-solving skills. Much innovation in organizations is due to attempting to solve a problem. Leaders who can’t come up with creative solutions to challenges are going to be unable to propel an organization forward. Organizations involve a complex of relationships, which makes conflict inevitable. Strong leaders are not people pleasers, but they implement strategies to deal with and eliminate conflict. They foster healthy give and take relationships that keep the organization vibrant and productive. Morale is high in environments where conflicts are resolved. High morale is one of the critical factors in a high producing environment.

Weak leadership is marked by the lack of integrity. Dictionary.com defines integrity as “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.” The scandals in various sectors-government, church, business, education-reveal the damage that is caused by a lack of integrity. Morality has become a highly subjective matter and it is those damning shades of gray that put us in trouble. However, the rule of thumb is to do to others what you would have them do to you and don’t do to others what you won’t want them to do to you. Taking unethical shortcuts will always return to bite you in the derriere.

Weak leadership is seen in a lack of organizational skills. Leaders may not be first rate administrators but they must still have the ability to organize themselves and their tasks. Without such organizational acumen, leaders will be inefficient and ineffective. The triple constraints in project management are time, cost and quality. Any imbalance in these three areas will affect the viability of a project. Project managers as do other types of leaders must be able to organize. Weak leaders “fly by the seat of their pants” and land very painfully. A key component of organization is planning. A clich√© states that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Weak leadership is evident in the lack of solid core values. Core values are those values that leaders strongly believe in and practice. Martin Luther King Jr. stood for the value of racial equality and he was willing to and did die for this value. Leaders must be passionate about their core values. A passionless leader without strong convictions will not motivate persons with any substance. Core values are more caught than taught, so leaders must get inspired by other leaders who are having an impact in their sphere of influence.

There are many things that characterize weak leadership. However, the good news is that leaders can improve – the lid of your leadership can be raised. Leadership is about ongoing development – the more I learn and apply, the more I grow. Weak leaders must recognize their deficiency, be willing to do something about it and do something about it. There are numerous, excellent resources that can help struggling leaders to improve from books to articles, to mentors, to conferences, to coaching; the resources are limitless. Invest in your leadership development; you will feel better about yourself and your organization will thrive.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Edison_D_Bynoe/1404290

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