When an entrepreneur creates a business, they first of all concentrate on getting the business off the ground. This requires a great deal of energy, one of the hallmarks of entrepreneurs.
Once the business is up and running the culture begins to develop based on the entrepreneur’s beliefs, values and assumptions. The culture is strengthened as it grows because the entrepreneur usually hires similar people, and indoctrinates them into their way of thinking. Staff members follow their role models lead, and begin to think and act in a similar fashion.
So the leader mobilises the workforce around the organisation to achieve its mission, creates the culture at the outset, and then sustains it as the company grows.
In the past leaders could shape their organisations to fit in with their personal style and values.
In today’s world though, as the rate of change of the social, technical, economic and political landscape accelerates, and people communicate more effectively and expect to be more involved in decision making, a more open style of leadership is appropriate. Autocratic leadership is less appropriate in today’s world.
The driving force is the global economy. Our expectations are now so high that companies need to have an empowered work force and a spirit of partnership with stakeholders and clients.
Now an ingrained culture can become a liability, and the leader must enable change to allow everyone to unlearn the culture and acquire new skills and methodologies.
In practice, successful founders of businesses are usually the people who have the vision – think about Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg – and the leadership skills to develop and deliver a plan and steer the company on the correct course. That’s how great companies are founded.
In the corporate world there are many successful business leaders who did not necessarily found the business, but have worked their way up to senior management positions in a large organisation.
So the vision they need is different – it is about how to manage a business in a rapidly changing world, making the best of the company’s legacy while steering it in a direction that will keep it relevant and successful as technology changes the face of the world we live in.
And both groups also need to be ensuring their succession planning by developing leaders and managers in their company, who can succeed them, and manage the business for them.
Quick Facts: How does Leadership work?
One of the challenges is to empower new people and let new leaders emerge. To lead in the rapidly changing world requires courage, perception, insight, motivation, emotional strength to manage themselves and others, the ability to evolve and delegate, and nurture new leaders.
Successful leaders need to be both a leader and a team player, and have the willingness and flexibility to welcome new developments.
A leader must be able to establish a relationship with followers, and must consciously manage the relationship.
The basic functions of leadership are;-
Signposting. The leader must have the vision to see what can be created for clients and stakeholders, point the way forward, and develop a strategic plan to deliver.
Communication and implementation. Everyone needs to understand and be “on board” with the strategic plan. The organisational structure may need to be reviewed and altered, operational processes must be able to deliver, systems reviewed, staff training undertaken, stakeholders and clients advised.
Empowerment. Everyone must have their vision ignited, a common purpose, and use their resources to begin to deliver the plan. The leader must keep everyone motivated, advise on progress, or lack of it, and correct the course if necessary.