By Jeff Wolf
Time to read: 2 minutes
Leadership is a tough job, one that places you in difficult positions, facing vexing dilemmas. Regardless of your level – supervisor, manager, general manager, president or CEO – leadership is challenging.
Let’s examine five fundamental goals:
- Bring people together to work as a team. You guide your team, department, or group, and it’s not easy leading a group of diverse people. The workplace today is more diverse than at any time in history: Each group has its ideas, values, and thoughts regarding what should be done and how to do it. Effective leaders work hard to build strong teams that accomplish great things. People who work together cohesively offer a competitive advantage.
- Motivate people to perform. You can’t lead without inspiring people to do great things. They must be willing to take that next step, the one that allows them to reach beyond their perceived capabilities and step out of the proverbial box. Each employee has distinct values and needs, wants and desires. Effective leaders spend coaching people one-on-one to find out what makes them tick, which challenges confront them, and which types of motivation will spur them to perform at a higher level.
People are motivated in two ways: intrinsically and extrinsically. Extrinsic motivations involves outside factors: money, power or position. Intrinsic motivations comes from within: the desire for pride, a passion for one’s work, and the desire to do a great job.
- Take responsibility for bottom-line results. Regardless of your organization’s size or type (public or private), much of your behavior is driven by the bottom line. If you are in a leadership role, you’ve got to work with people to produce and achieve the results necessary to be profitable. Leaders are measured by their results, as are the people who work for them. Every organization has financial goals. If they’re unmet, the consequences may be severe.
- Make difficult decisions. It’s your responsibility to hire the right people, terminate the wrong people, and call people on the carpet to take corrective measures. It’s also within your purview to change the direction of your department, team or organization as the landscape changes in your business environment.
You may also have to decide whether friends or former colleagues are doing their job. You may find yourself in the unenviable position of having to reprimand, issue warnings, and occasionally terminate staff. The people who report to you must be in the right job for their abilities. You may have the right people, but the positions they’re in may not be the correct fit, so you’ll need to make the necessary changes.
- Create positive energy. Team and company success depend on having highly motivated individuals who are excited about their work. Of course, no workforce operates in a vacuum. Employees need a strong leader with a positive attitude and enthusiasm. Employees work for people (leaders), not for companies. Conversely, employees don’t leave companies – they leave ineffective leaders. An employee’s relationship with a manager/supervisor largely determines the length of an employee’s stay. The main reason people quit is the manager’s behavior. A quality leader is the key factor in attracting and retaining top talent.
There is no shortage of good employees today; however, there is a shortage of inspirational leaders and inspiring places to work. Leaders are seldom energy neutral. They either energize their employees, or they act as energy vampires, sapping workers’ motivation and enthusiasm and contributing to low morale.
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