What is leadership

Leadership – What is leadership and have you got it?

Advice from Wendy Smith.  Wendy is a  Career and Life Coach helping you find fresh perspectives on your life particularly your career.  You can book a FREE coaching session or find out more at this link

What is leadership – well, what do you think? The whole world seems to be talking about leadership right now.  How good is it? How bad is it? How to improve it?  But let us think a little about what it is.

At its most basic, leadership is simply one person leading another.  Think of someone in a blindfold being led by another.  If that is going to work, the person doing the leading needs to have some idea where they are going. They need to have some conception of the obstacles on the way and how to overcome them.  Of course,  the person doing the leading needs to be able to inspire confidence in the person being led.  That confidence needs to be strong enough for them at least to take the first step.

What is leadership  in organizations?

Leadership in organizations is the same really.  A leader sees a problem that needs to be fixed or a goal that needs to be achieved. It could be something that no one else sees or something that no one else wants to see because the sight is uncomfortable. But whatever it is, it becomes the focus of the leader’s attention and they set out with determination to deal with it or to achieve it.  Then of course the leader needs to be able to bring others along with them.

This kind of leadership can be at any level in an organization.  Most successful organizations today recognize that and set up systems which empower leaders at all levels.  With information technology it is easy to give people throughout an organization the information they need to become leaders and the tools to lead.  But of course if this is to work well, leadership does need to start at the top. Then leaders throughout the organization will set out in the same direction, supporting each other. They will not be tripping each other up.

If you are supposed to “lead” your organization how a good a job are you doing at setting out a clear vision for the future?  Do the other leaders throughout your organization know where you are going so that they can lead in the same direction?  Do they have the knowledge and information to take your vision forward? If not you have a problem. What are you going to do about it?

Wendy Smith is a  Life Coach helping you find fresh perspectives on your life including your career. She helps people lead happier lives and feel more fulfilled. Need help finding work, with problems at work, at home or with relationships? Book a FREE coaching session with Wendy or find out more at this link

What is leadership?

What is leadership?

Leadership – What is it and have you got it?

What is leadership? The whole world seems to be talking about leadership right now.  How good is it? How bad is it? How to improve it?  But let us think a little about what it is.

At its most basic, leadership is simply one person leading another.  Think of someone in a blindfold being led by another.  If that is going to work, the person doing the leading needs to have some idea where they are going. They need to have some conception of the obstacles on the way and how to overcome them.  Of course,  the person doing the leading needs to be able to inspire confidence in the person being led.  That confidence needs to be strong enough for them at least to take the first step

Leadership in organizations is the same really.  A leader sees a problem that needs to be fixed or a goal that needs to be achieved. It could be something that no one else sees or something that no one else wants to see because the sight is uncomfortable. But whatever it is, it becomes the focus of the leader’s attention and they set out with determination to deal with it or to achieve it.  Then of course the leader needs to be able to bring others along with them.

What is leadership?

This kind of leadership can be at any level in an organization.  Most successful organizations today recognize that and set up systems which empower leaders at all levels.  With information technology it is easy to give people throughout an organization the information they need to become leaders and the tools to lead.  But of course if this is to work well, leadership does need to start at the top. Then leaders throughout the organization will set out in the same direction, supporting each other. They will not be tripping each other up.

If you are supposed to “lead” your organization how a good a job are you doing at setting out a clear vision for the future?  Do the other leaders throughout your organization know where you are going so that they can lead in the same direction?  Do they have the knowledge and information to take your vision forward? If not you have a problem. What are you going to do about it?

Wendy is the Happiness Coach and author of  The Wolf Project and a new novel, Blood Brothers, to be published in Summer 2013.  As a life and career coach and blogger, she helps people reach their goals and aspirations. As a novelist she hopes to entertain. Oh and she writes poetry too! To find out more email wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com, find her on Skype at wendymason14, or call +44 (0) 2081239146 

A free trial/consultation gives you an opportunity to try phone coaching without risk. Remember there are great benefits to be achieved by being coached in the comfort  of your own home by phone or Skype .

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A leader is…

A leader is…

A leader is…! Desmond Tutu, Jack Welch, John Chambers on leadership

A leader is…

  • A servant?
  • A collaborator?
  • A team worker?
  • Someone who grows people

What do you think?

Wendy Mason is the Happiness Coach and author of a new novel, The Wolf Project.  Wendy is a life and career coach and writer. She is passionate about helping people find happiness at work and at home! She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  She believes coaching requires compassion, warmth and empathy. Wendy helps people reach their career goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

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Something to make you think – a leader is….

Something to make you think – a leader is….

Desmond Tutu, Jack Welch, John Chambers on leadership

A leader is…

  • A servant?
  • A collaborator?
  • A team worker?
  • Someone who grows people

What do you think?

Wendy Mason is the Happiness Coach and author of a new novel, The Wolf Project.  Wendy is a life and career coach and writer. She is passionate about helping people find happiness at work and at home! She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  She believes coaching requires compassion, warmth and empathy. Wendy helps people reach their career goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

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Leadership Definition

Leadership Definition

Leadership – A Problem of Definition!

Leadership Definition – Have you noticed the organisation that seem to have most problems with leadership seem to be the ones that spend the most time talking about what it is – the definition.  I don’t mean they spend a lot of time talking about how to be better at it.  No, they seem to spend an inordinate amount of time debating what leadership actually is.  And guess what?  The definition they settle for,  is often a blend of what suits them (the ruling elite) best at the time.

Now these debates about the definition of leadership seem to take on an almost religious dimension; they certainly seem to become philosophical and can be verging on the mystical.  And the discussions usually take place within the elite itself.  The members seem to have problems accepting that anyone outside of themselves will understand leadership in their context, let alone demonstrate, what the dominating elite of the moment, regards as the required characteristics.

Fair enough, there are many definitions of leadership.  In a review of leadership research, more than 30 years ago,  Stogdill (1974, p.259) concluded that  there are

“..almost as many definitions of leadership as there are persons who have attempted to define the concept”

At its simplest leadership is providing direction, gaining commitment to plans, and motivating people to follow them.

Now, realistically that needs to happen throughout an organization – not just at the top.  Although, of course, everything needs to fit in with the direction of travel established from the top.  Which is what makes these navel-gazing exercises so dangerous!  While these powerful elites are debating what leadership really is, the rest of the organization is desperate for a sense for direction.  So what is the result? Well if I talk about “headless chickens”, will you know what I mean?

Looking forwards, it is certain that in more and more complex organisations, the quality of leadership will remain of central and increasing importance.  There is much that can be done to improve  both the way in which leadership is conceived and applied throughout  organisations, but let’s get on with it please.  Let us not spend so long dithering (to mix metaphors) with one toe in the water.

Wendy Smith, Career, life and Business Coach
Wendy Smith, Principal Coach, WiseWolf Life and Career Coaching

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find all her books on Amazon at this link

         

Leadership – A Problem of Definition!

Leadership – A Problem of Definition!

Have you noticed the organizations that seem to have most problems with leadership seem to be the ones that spend the most time talking about what it is – the definition.  I don’t mean they spend a lot of time talking about how to be better at it.  No, they seem to spend an inordinate amount of time debating what leadership actually is.  And guess what?  The definition they settle for,  is often a blend of what suits them (the ruling elite) best at the time.

Now these debates about the definition of leadership seem to take on an almost religious dimension; they certainly seem to become philosophical and can be verging on the mystical.  And the discussions usually take place within the elite itself.  The members seem to have problems accepting that anyone outside of themselves will understand leadership in their context, let alone demonstrate, what the dominating elite of the moment, regards as the required characteristics.

Fair enough, there are many definitions of leadership.  In a review of leadership research, more than 30 years ago,  Stogdill (1974, p.259) concluded that  there are

“..almost as many definitions of leadership as there are persons who have attempted to define the concept”

At its simplest leadership is providing direction, gaining commitment to plans, and motivating people to follow them.

Now, realistically that needs to happen throughout an organization – not just at the top.  Although, of course, everything needs to fit in with the direction of travel established from the top.  Which is what makes these navel-gazing exercises so dangerous!  While these powerful elites are debating what leadership really is, the rest of the organization is desperate for a sense for direction.  So what is the result? Well if I talk about “headless chickens”, will you know what I mean?

Looking forwards, it is certain that in more and more complex organizations, the quality of leadership will remain of central and increasing importance.  There is much that can be done to improve  both the way in which leadership is conceived and applied throughout  organizations, but let’s get on with it please.  Let us not spend so long dithering (to mix metaphors) with one toe in the water.

Wendy Mason is a career coach.  She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR.  She now divides her time between coaching and writing. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

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Leadership styles – are you the leader for all seasons?


A bonfire lit the sky of Babil Province, as no...

The post that gets the greatest number of visits on this blog is a very short piece I wrote a while ago on different leadership styles – here is the link. I know a picture is worth a thousand words but its success still staggers me – every day it get more hits!

Now leaders, being people, come in all shapes, sizes and personality types and thank goodness for it.

The secret of being a good leader is the ability to be flexible.  Whatever your natural style, If you can adapt that style to meet the needs of the times and your situation, well, in my book, you will be doing OK. And I believe you may be quite unusual.

But, if you are prepared and able to flex, you still need to be able to recognize when a different style is required. For example, a participative leadership style is great in gaining consensus, engagement and a commitment to quality.  But in a conflict situation where survival depends upon making a quick decision, it may have its limitations and could be potentially disastrous

There may be limits for many of us in how far, and for how long, we can adapt from what is our natural style.

It really helps if we understand our natural style and if we can be honest with ourselves about how far we are able to change.  Under stress and over time we tend to revert to what is natural for us.

An action-orientated leader may be great at saving an organization, bringing it out of inertia and building up motivation and morale, short-term.   But that same action-orientated leader may not be the person to develop a vision for the organization long-term.

If you can flex long enough to meet the need, that is great!  If you can’t, and you know it, then have the courage and honesty to admit the problem and put energy into finding someone who can.

So where do you start to become this paragon of leaders who can change styles as required?  Well, start by understanding you.

There are various leadership tests that you can find easily on-line (such as, Myers Briggs) and some of them are free.  Do your homework – find out as much as you can about your own and different leadership styles on this and other websites.

Then start to observe yourself and your organization.  If you look and listen to your people you’ll soon know if your leadership style is right for the times! But be aware, this may mean you have some difficult choices to make. That depends, of course, on how just how good you want to be as a leader!

Wendy Mason is a Coach, Consultant and Blogger. She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those wanting to increase their confidence. If you would like to work on developing your leadership ability or your own confidence, Wendy would happy to work with you.  Her Learn to Be Confident Program is at this link. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@confidencecoach.me  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114

Leadership, the Lone Worker and Getting Things Done

Cartoon of the big bad wolf reading a bedtime ...

Many moons ago when I was a manager in a large organization.  I had a fearsome reputation for getting things done! I choose my words carefully here and, yes, fearsome is the word.

Dictionary definition: fearsome – causing or capable of causing fear!

Yes, I was very well-known for achieving but most of it had a lot to do with volume (of voice) and not value!

Over the years I learnt more about leadership and that true leadership is about vision and valuing both those you lead and those for whom you are delivering.  There was very little to be gained by aggression or an aggressive style of leadership.

I learned as well about project management and that even the achievement of simple tasks can often benefit from a little analysis and planning.

When I moved on from management and into management consultancy, what surprised me, as much as the general lack of leadership, was a lack of delivery skills.

Simply – people did not  know how to manage getting things done and their goals achieved!

Well, we read all the time about the lack of leadership competence.

I suspect the complexity of modern organizations is probably far outstripping our ability to generate enough competent leaders.  If that is true it very worrying indeed.  But that is not why I’m writing today.

The lack of delivery skills, whether well–led or not, is even more frightening.

There lots of people around with great ideas.  They have vision, energy and enthusiasm and they may well have great leadership ability.  If they manage to find themselves in organizations that can support them, they will lead their teams to deliver great things.  But they can founder, if they cannot work in environments that support them in that way.

If you work alone or in a very small organization then you have to be both a thoroughly competent leader and a good manager.  Now what do I mean?  Surely when you work alone you don’t need leadership and management skills.

Sorry but I think you do!  You need to be able to articulate a vision for yourself that will motivate you to commit to the task ahead.  It needs to set-out in enough detail for you to plan the tasks you will need to do if you are to turn your vision into reality.

Then you need to plan, manage and check your project through until you deliver and enjoy the benefits.

Quite a challenge isn’t it!  If you need any help please get in touch I have lots of tips to pass on.  I will be very happy to share with you the lessons I learned the hard way when I decided that fearsome wasn’t the best leadership style I could adopt!

Wendy Mason works as a Coach,Consultant and Blogger. She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those wanting to increase their confidence

If you would like to work on developing your own confidence, Wendy offers the Wisewolf Learn to Be Confident Program at this link

You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114

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Leader, know your friend or foe!

Dragon-Knights
Image by JimmytheJ via Flickr

As a leader things you do have an impact!

As a leader, the things you do and the choices you make have an impact on those about you.

The more people you affect, the more likely it is that your actions will impact on people who have power and influence over your ability to deliver your vision.

These people could be strong supporters of your work – or they could obstruct it.

Identify key people

You need to make sure that you can find the key people who support you already and those who still need to be won over. Then you can;

  • Use the opinions of your most powerful supporters to shape your plans at an early stage. Not only does this make it more likely that they will support you, but, their input can improve the quality of your approach.
  • Use strong support to help you to win more resources – this makes success more likely
  • By communicating make sure your supporters fully understand what you are doing and the benefits it will bring.  They can then act as your ambassadors.
  • Anticipate what people’s reaction to you may be, and build into your plan the actions that will win people’s support.

The first step is to brainstorm who supports you and who does not.

Think through all the people who are affected by your work.  Who has influence or power over it?  Who has an interest in its successful or unsuccessful conclusion?

And now the analysis

You may now have a long list of people and organizations that are affected by your work.

Some may have the power either to block or advance. Some may be interested in what you are doing, others may not care.

You need to map your list on to grid like the one below.

Someone’s position on the grid shows you the actions you have to take to ensure your success:

  • High influence, interested people: these are the people you must make time and effort to engage with and try to satisfy.
  • High influence, less interested people: for these people you need to try to keep them satisfied.  But don’t over-communicate or they may begin to see you as a nuisance
  • Low influence, interested people: keep these people adequately informed, and talk to them to ensure there are no major issues.  They could be useful on the details and in spreading the message
  • Low influence, less interested people: again, monitor but do not bore them with excessive communication.

Now it is time for you to get to work!

Wendy Mason works as a Coach, Consultant and Blogger. 

She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those;

  • looking for work
  • looking for promotion or newly promoted
  • moving between Public and Private Sectors
  • facing redundancy
  • moving into retirement
  • wanting to do a mid-life review

You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114

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Leading From Within

“For me, leadership is a shared responsibility for creating a better world in which to live and work.  It manifests in our passion to engage others in bringing about purposeful change.” Leading From Within – Nancy Huber

Harvard Business Review on the Mind of the Leader

Emotion is not always given its due importance in leadership literature.

This is what the Harvard Business Review  has to say about ‘The mind of the Leader’:

“If you are looking for leaders, how can you identify people who are motivated by the drive to achieve rather than by external rewards? The first sign is a passion for the work itself — such people seek out creative challenges, love to learn and take great pride in a job well done. They also display an unflagging energy to do things better and are forever raising the performance bar.”

Since we can’t all lead, all the time, it is emotion – passion for a particular work – more than intelligence – that can help us find who has the potential for leadership.

Characteristics of the Heart

There are four characteristics which Nancy Huber – responsible for the top quote –  considers to be the foundation of good leadership.    They are not traits which you are either born with or not. Nor are they attributes that you might acquire by learning more about them!

Nancy believes these essential leader characteristics are choices that we make.

She believes exemplary leaders choose to be passionate, authentic, credible, and ethical.

  • Purpose and passion go hand in hand. To be an effective leader, you must first care. When you care deeply, you have the fire inside that will sustain you through difficult times.
  • To be authentic is to be genuine.  We speak from our own to the hearts of others and we are consistent.  This means in our relationships we are genuine and trustworthy.
  • Credibility means you do what you say you will do. It begins with being authentic and is manifested in the actions that you promise and deliver. You are accountable for what you say you will do.
  • Ethical leaders have human worth and dignity at the centre of their value system. They make decisions and take action in accord with these deeply held values and beliefs.

Know who you are!

Being a leader means knowing who you are at the deepest level, choosing to have the right values and acting on those values in your working, as well as your private, life.

Wendy Mason works as a Coach, Consultant and Writer. 

She works with all kinds of people going through many different kinds of personal and career change, particularly those;

  • looking for work
  • looking for promotion or newly promoted
  • moving between Public and Private Sectors
  • facing redundancy
  • moving into retirement
  • wanting to do a mid-life review

You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com  or ring ++44 (0)2084610114

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