4 thoughts on leadership

I’ve written some posts on leadership on this blog. Recently we discussed largely about this topic here at Locaweb so I decided to write yet another post about leadership. It is about 4 thoughts on leadership.

leadership = motivation

If someone asks me to define leadership in one word, I would use the word motivation. Leadership is essentially about motivating the team. The leader should support the team so they can get to their objectives, execute their work and projects the best possible way.

In order to create a motivating environment, the leader must use management styles. Some writings about this topic mention that there are 10 management styles; others mention 6 management styles and other mention 4 management styles. In fact, it doesn’t matter how many management styles but the concept of management styles.

The idea behind the concept of management style is quite simple: a management style is how a leader must react given a certain situation. For instance, when the team is clueless, unable to decide on their own what’s the best way to move forward, and the time to take the decision is almost over, this is a good moment to use the coercive / authoritarian management style. Using this style means that the leader say exactly what must be done by the team. When the team is in the beginning of a project, it’s a good time to mix directive / orienting with democratic / participative management style. Being directive, the leader says what must be done in that project, why it must be done and under what circumstances – timeframe, budget. Being democratic, the leader let the team decide on the detailed planning of the project.

Let’s leave aside the corporate world and think a bit about parenting. How many times we heard some parents saying that sometimes their kids ask for reprehension? That’s the moment when the kids ask for a coercive / authoritarian parent.

This concept of managerial style can be applied in any situation of our lives. Each situation demands a certain reaction from us. And there are more appropriate reactions and less appropriate reactions.

We should consider two aspects about management styles:

  1. Identification of the appropriate management styles: the leader must understand the situation and what type of intervention it demands. And the situation is not only about the problem but also the people. The same problem with different people may demand different management styles.
  2. Correct use of the management style: once recognized the appropriate management styles for a given situation, the leader must know how to apply them. It may look simple at first, but some people may not feel comfortable being authoritarian or democratic.

leadership = model

Another very important aspect about leadership that even the best leaders forget about is the being a leader means being a model. The better the leader, i.e., the better motivator a leader is, the biggest are the chances of this leader becoming a model for her team. The leader may not like being a model or even may not be able to see heself as a model, but her team will always see her as model to be followed. So if the leader has a certain way of behaving at the office, at some point her team will start to act similarly.

leadership = practice

I’ve already commented that the best way to improve is to practice a lot (in Portuguese). The same is valid for leadership. No one is born a leader. Like any other skill, it requires lots of constant and mindful practice, with a good coach and in a appropriate environment.

leadership = be led

Eventually all leaders are led. 100% of all leaders are led by another leader. Almost all are led by a boss, but even when we think about leader in its highest rank, she is led by someone. If she is the owner of the company, she is led by the market. If she is the president of the country, she is (or should be) led by the people of this country.

The quality of the leadership must not be analyzed only with regard of the team. The team may be in perfect synchrony with its leader, very motivated, but if this leader is not in sync with her own leader, there’s no deal.

Summarizing

I know there are tons more to say about leadership. Just type leadership at Google to see hundreds of millions of pages about the topic. And I’ll write more about this topic in the future but, for now, here goes my 4 thoughts on leadership:

leadership = motivation
leadership = model
leadership = practice
leadership = be led

Please check my other posts on leadership.

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