GOOD LEADERSHIP Vs BAD LEADERSHIP
By NICHOLAS C. HILL (FIC FInstLM)
Leadership skills come in many different manifestations. These competencies are observed through a multitude of factors that are closely linked and which, oftentimes, overlap.
The specific aptitudes inherent to leadership skills are never mutually exclusive and one, typically, owes greatly to another. Take for instance communication skills and executive coaching and mentoring—the former is greatly utilised to serve the purpose of the latter. These exact intricacies are the same reasons why, at times, good leadership skills can be hard to distinguish. A fitting example is the paradox of charismatic leaders. Whereas these individuals usually inspire the support and admiration of many, in many instances, their motivations can, sometimes, be questionable. With this in mind, let us delve into what constitutes genuine leadership skills and how its opposite is revealed.
Good leadership skills are anchored to listening. This means that good leaders know how to value the insights of other people, regardless of their rank or power. From their very own bosses to stakeholders, employees to customers, good leaders listen without bias or prejudice. Leadership skills can pave the way to creative collaboration, employee engagement and participation, employee motivation and guidance, and overall team cohesion and rapport. Lastly, leaders with the right notion on the art and science of their pivotal role are always ready to provide direction, as they are ever prepared to assign utmost trust and confidence to their team members.
The antithesis of good leadership skills is what we may call an unenlightened or ill-informed leadership style. In this leadership model, leadership skills are measured by an almost autocratic vision. This is where leaders impose policies and procedures, and set goals and objectives, without soliciting relevant inputs from the team. Presumably, all for the betterment of the organisation, these leadership skills when applied to a non-participative leadership approach are practised indiscriminately, without regard for the possible reactions, needs, and sentiments of those belonging to the lower ranks of the organisational totem pole. Even more distressing, is how this leadership paradigm fosters an us-versus-them-mentality (managers and high-ranking officials versus all team members or “subordinates”), which entirely defeats the purpose of team building and employee unification.
The first model represents leadership skills at their most effective and efficient and exemplifies the message communicated on all good leadership and management courses. Now that we have made this distinction, let us then zero in on the kind of support employees need from their leaders.
As the phrase suggests, leaders who are easily perceptible and even physical demonstrate this type of support. Examples may include training tools, clear procedures and policies, and relevant information in general.
This is where leadership skills are put to the test. Employees require leaders to exemplify or epitomise sincerity, trustworthiness, confidence, and other barometers of a genuine leader, who desires nothing less than the betterment and empowerment of his or her team.
Leadership skills are not for the glorification of the individuals who possess them. What is more invaluable is how these skills become a fitting source of motivation, inspiration, and involvement amongst all employees, regardless of rank or job description.
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Nicholas C. Hill is Managing Director and Principal Trainer for The Hill Consultancy Ltd, London, specialising in UK-wide public training courses in leadership and management development. Become a highly productive manager and influential leader today. Claim £100 off the list price on any two-day course. Promotional code: PASSION0213. Visit the website or call now to find out more or request a FREE consultation. T: 020 7993 9955 W: www.nicholashill.com