Leadership

Leadership

Leadership has always intrigued me. I can remember attending veld school – the South African version of summer camp – where we were divided into teams and given a puzzle to solve in 15 minutes.

Everyone was sitting around, complaining about how difficult it was for the first 5 minutes. It was there that I decided if this were to be done, I would have to take charge. I started directing the team, and we managed to come up with a suitable solution in the time given. It has since become a way of life for me.

I am naturally an introvert… yes, I know, those who know me now will laugh at the notion, but seriously, it has taken the best part of my adult life to get over myself and do it.

I find leadership so multifaceted that I did my Master’s dissertation on my take on leadership as it pertains to creating high-performance teams. At that specific point in my career, I was moving into program management. I realized that being the leader that inspires people and does a lot of ‘big picture’ strategic thinking doesn’t necessarily get the job done! Great for defining strategy, not great for delivery. You have to combine the Strategic elements with the Operational aspects.

Enter Managerial Leadership. More information is available in my article posted by the South African Financial Markets (SAIFM) on Effective Managerial Leadership as a catalyst for the creation of high-performance teams.

Although effective leadership is essential, I believe leaders must increase operational involvement. You need to get down in the trenches with your team. Show them you are willing to toil and celebrate with them. That is what builds the team. Aspiring to be like your leader and having a healthy dose of admiration for him/her is excellent, but seeing the light, becoming one with the goal – as mentioned in my blog ‘what inspires me’ is where authentic leadership should be measured.

Moving on ten years, here we are in 2020, with the significant uncertainty and disruption we have seen since the Spanish Flue circa 1918. We are facing a rapidly changing world and standing on the cusp of what is fast becoming the new normal, and we have to ask ourselves: How do we lead remotely? What is required from that leader to lead, inspire, and get the work done when your team is not right there?   To streamline structures and cut costs, I foresee the leader’s role evolving to incorporate management actions. The image below indicates the synergies between the different roles and how it can improve organizational effectiveness.

Leaders should focus on flexibility, collaboration, critical thinking, engaging, and inspiring others. Build on your strengths and ensure you always remain self-aware.