It goes without saying that leadership is an integral aspect of any organization or institution. It is mandatory for organizations, especially top managers, to understand what leadership really is and how to lead effectively. Leadership can be good or bad. There are so many books written about leadership, how to be a good leader, and more often than not, leadership has always been associated with the person at the top of the organization. In retrospect, good leadership is essential at all levels in an organization.
Firstly, leadership is a state of mind. Considering oneself as a leader is the initial step to personal success. In 2010, former U.S President, Barrack Obama launched The Young Africa Leaders Initiative (YALI), which is a program in support of young African leaders. One of the prerequisites to be accepted into the program is that the applicant has to be a leader in the respective organizations or institutions that they are part of. Organizational performance can be quickly enhanced by first helping the employees understand that they are leaders within themselves. An excerpt from the respected American author, Napoleon Hill’s book explains the importance of right thinking this way, ‘If you think you are beaten, you are. If you dare not, you don’t. If you like to win but think you can’t it’s almost certain that you won’t. If you think you are lost, you lose’.
Top managers in organizations should, however, understand that leadership is in many ways different from authority. A leader is easily approachable, always willing to coach and teach his or her team. This can be done by setting aside time to engage with the employees. This, in turn, will boost their confidence and enhance teamwork thereby improving their performance. Taking a good look at organizations that perform so well in the industries they are in, one may notice that the employees’ satisfaction with their employers is high. This has greatly been achieved through various activities such as team building and conducting employees training sessions.
Leadership has many facets to it. Undoubtedly, in most organizations, it is the managers who are left with decision making on important issues that affect the organisation. This is actually the conventional way of leadership. But what if the managers, from time to time, involve their subordinates in decision making. Let them take risks. Good leadership constitutes taking into account the opinions of everyone involved with the organization. In this way, the organization gets to maximumly explore the potential within itself and problems that would have otherwise taken forever to solve are tackled faster.
It is, however, important to know that leadership is a process and every process is gradual. It would be hilarious for one to think that introducing a new system of operations in an organization can happen overnight. The process of leadership in an organization may seem mundane or it may even go unnoticed but the end results are impeccably satisfactory. Managers have the responsibility to provide good leadership in their specific departments and take their teams from a point of unknown to known in a particular subject matter for the sake of the organisation’s performance.
Lastly, leadership is driven by knowledge. Anyone in the position of leadership in an organisation understands that it’s through the knowledge that he or she is set in a position of power to lead. To escape a state of inertia in the organization, leaders should always encourage their teams to be hungry for knowledge to advance professionally. Leadership is a valuable human resource and just like swimming, it cannot be learnt by reading about it alone.
By Lavender Atieno a digital marketer at Food World Media /AFMASS