Leadership is demonstrated at the moment of need. You learn to be a leader by acting, by doing.”
– Carlos Ghosn
Business expert and professor Peter Drucker was once quoted as saying, “You can either take action or you can hang back and hope for a miracle.
Miracles are great, but they are so unpredictable.” In essence what Drucker was saying is that you have to DO, you must take action in order to make things happen.
DOING is at the heart of leading.
Too often leaders try to model themselves after or emulate their mentors or predecessors. They talk like them, walk like them and sometimes they even try to think like them. At times this may succeed however real leadership in the being and doing.
Being is a very important element as a leader; it mandates that a leader has command of who they are and what they stand for. Being also means that a leader has to be his or her authentic self. While a leader must have knowledge of self/personal mastery, a leader must also possess four critical skill sets:
The ability to see trends of the future or create new trends must be a part of the skill set of a leader if he or she is to lead successfully.
That skill set that enables a leader to do this is called Visioning. By definition Visioning means “having an unusual competence in discernment, intelligent foresight and the ability to see mental images produced by the imagination.”
A leader must be able to see into the future and decide which direction to lead the organization. He/She must see the future landscape of products, services and human capital needs. One of the most important questions a leader can ask himself or herself during this “Visioning” phase is “WHAT IF.” The “WHAT IF” question opens a leader to a world of infinite scenarios to ponder.
The ability to influence another person is paramount in the life of a leader.
Whether the influence is direct or indirect does not matter. What matters is a person has been influenced to act as the leader needs and wants them to act.
Influencing is having the ability to effect, induce or persuade one to do something or not do something. Leadership is Influencing. Without the power to influence others to see and follow the vision of an organization a leader is nothing more than a lame duck. Influencing, Inspiring and Motivating are part of the daily task of a leader.
The creation of a great Vision and the Implementation of the Vision means nothing with the ability to effectively implement the plan.
One of the fundamental skill sets of a leader is the ability to implement his or her vision. Implementation is doing. Making it happen. Implementing means to put into effect according to process or procedure, to fulfill. If a leader cannot implement, he or she cannot be effective as the by-product of effective implementation are results.
The most important component to leadership is the leader’s ability to EXECUTE.
As Ram Charan, co-author of the book Execution puts it: “Execution is the missing link between aspirations and results. Because it must be part of the company’s strategy and its goals, it is the most important job of any business leader.”
Charan goes on to say, “The absence of execution is the single biggest obstacle to success and the cause of most of the disappointments that are mistakenly attributed to other causes. When a company executes well, people are not brought to their knees by changes in the business environment.”
To be an effective leader one must possess or learn the four skill sets mentioned in this article. We can discuss how technology is rapidly changing the landscape however it is effective leaders who have the capacity to practice Visioning, Influencing, Implementing and most important of all Executing.
It is always about people. People create Products, Processes and Profits.
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I agree absolutely with the author and wish to go a step further. We all say and expect a leader to have a command of who they are. This trait can not be acquired by outer means. This means that a leader to be really enlightened about his authentic self, he/she has to learn the art of mindful meditation for a specific period to get enlightened and acquire the power of application of his leadership and skill sets in an inspired and effective fashion.The enlightenment makes a man proactive and not passive as has been the opinion so far. Today in a complex situation it is a should and must. Gone are the days when mere achievements of profit more than the forecast by hook or by crook used to be the yardstick of a successful leader. People are more restless today than before even after so much technological advancement and to carry them along in a willing,inspired and committed fashion with the goals of the organisation can not be completed without a spark of enlightenment in leadership style.
During my teaching days, when students would tell me the reason for not being part of an event or project was “it’s not fun”, I would counter with, “The fun is in the doing.”
Taking a line from “Fish”, leaders must “Be there”, and if they are there, their leadership will be “doing everything necessary” to make a difference in the organization and the lives of the people with whom they work in that group.
Great article. Thank you. I’ll be sharing it with my Leadership Seekers Group.