Reflect on your career to this point. How many of your supervisors, assistant managers, managers, team leaders, vice president, or other title of authority would you say exemplified true leadership? Not meaning they just assigned you work, signed your checks, or approved your vacation, but they inspired you to do your job to the best of your ability and continuously improve. A boss simply manages your workflow, but a leader goes far beyond that for both their subordinates and organization.
Reflecting on that list again, you might find that some possessed impressive career tracks, others very personable, and others with vision of what should be done with our area, but few possessed all the qualities for me to classify as a leader. In any group, team, or organization, and effective leader, who can combines experience, relationship management, and strategy, is essential for achieving successful outcomes. Failure to identify effective leaders can negatively impact an organization well beyond the period of bad decision making.
There are plenty of examples of leadership failures from individuals selected for positions that. At the helm of an iconic tech brand in Yahoo, Marissa Meyer is struggling to breathe life back into a fading company, with reports of low employee morale and strong fisted leadership approaches. Furthermore, executives familiar with her style departed the firm to pursue opportunities elsewhere. There is no doubt that Ms. Meyer has impeccable skills. At Google, she made a strong enough impact to earn her role at Yahoo. The area of her style that seems to need work is the ability to inspire and influence others, as her turnaround plan is not gaining buy in.
Many football fans this time of year are either highly excited about their team’s prospects playoffs, or like me, waiting to see who their team will hire for the next head coach. In Philadelphia, the underperforming Eagles kicked off their search for the next leader of their organization. When hiring Chip Kelly, team owner Jeffrey Lurie, and the rest of us, felt that he was an innovator and potential revolutionizing force in the NFL. For the most part, he was. Following his termination, Mr. Lurie implied that the downfall of the Kelly Era was the interactions with other people in the organization. Despite having a strong strategic acumen, Kelly’s demise was relationships with people below, around, and above. Hopefully, he nips this in the bud and experiences the success in San Francisco.
How would I define leadership? A leader is a person who possesses the ability to inspire others, both those working under and around them. Additionally, leaders must influence people to operate at maximum performance, even when other factors weigh on them. Moreover, a leader must positively impact their staff and organizations, building a reputation that encourages others to follow and emulate. An effective leader is that individual that mixes a strong technical skill set with even stronger set of people skills.