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Why Is Leadership Important?
By Sean Stevenson – Latest Revision January 3rd, 2021
Without effective leadership, no modern organization can exist. The absence of leadership invariably leads to stagnation, dwindling morale, and eventual collapse.
Leadership is important because it allows for a coordinated effort. Leadership and management exist to provide guidance and to initiate action. A skilled leader sets attainable goals, maximizes efficiency, and builds confidence within an organization. A workplace culture too, should thrive under active leadership.
An important motivation for a modern leader is to build powerful structures of productivity. These safeguard everyone’s economical and personal interests.
Moreover, in a healthy work environment, an employee puts their best efforts into achieving organizational objectives. They do this knowing that their interests are being taken care of in turn by their organization.
This is why leadership is so important; it builds confidence not only for employees, but for the larger economy as a whole.
In essence, without leadership, an organization cannot survive for long.
In this article, I will define leadership concepts. Moreover, I will explain optimal ways of exercising leadership in a business setting.
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Definitions of leadership differ slightly. The most commonly agreed upon version is something along the lines of, “to lead a group of individuals, or a larger organization.”
While this rendition is simple and straight to the point, it is also misleading.
In reality, leadership is a hard-earned skill that involves innumerable and often complex factors. The strategies and considerations that go into decision-making, are often born of necessity and circumstance.
Many textbook interpretations of leadership tend to be idealistic. They fail to report on the harsher realities.
This is not to say leadership should be daunting or ill-considered. However, it is to say that effective leadership comes from hard-earned personal growth.
A strong work ethic is required. This will enable a leader to drive productivity, innovation, and development to meet corporate objectives.
Effective leadership is about defining and executing an organization’s vision for the future. This often requires adapting to changing circumstances, or redefining opinions based on facts.
Setting a positive tone for a workplace culture is also a necessity. A happy workplace is a productive one.
Leadership is about motivating others to work towards a shared vision. Teams must be aligned, and resources prioritized to ensure success.
To enable these feats and spur an organization to new heights, a leadership must carefully consider their industry. Some industries may have more advantages than others in certain areas. All of these elements must be considered and acted upon where possible.
It is through these constructive dynamics, that a leadership may plan a prolific campaign to improve their organization. Though it will not happen overnight, it is always advantageous to plan ahead.
Along the path to success, there are always points of pain and failure. Effective leadership navigates times of hardship by motivating others to face down problems together. Inspiring effective contributions to the organization, while adapting to changing -and at times difficult- circumstances, is the hallmark of an accomplished leader.
No single person can work towards a larger goal by themselves. An experienced leader knows this. They makes use of all the resources available. Inspiring others to build a lasting foundation is what spurs growth.
It should be noted that leadership differs from management. Management tends to deal with finer details, such as budgeting and logistics. While managers may have leadership skills and deal with some of the same aspects, their function is not the same.
According to an article from Pennsylvania State University, “Effective leadership is essential to a functioning society.” The article continues by citing the necessity of leadership in all its forms. On a another scale, leadership is essential for any modern corporation, business, or organization to thrive.
Given the increasingly globalized economy we find ourselves in, leadership has never been more important. Any brand or organization without effective leadership will soon find itself being overtaken by its competitors.
How To Exercise Leadership Effectively
To be an effective leader, you have to work at it diligently. Simply calling yourself a leader and giving orders is not enough. Nor is it for everyone.
An effective leader recognizes their own vision for the future. They understand the effort and time that will likely be needed to work towards and complete a specific goal.
A great leader will be instrumental to improving the quality, productivity, work culture, and even the morale of an organization.
Many modern and past leaders that have proven themselves to be highly effective. They shared certain characteristics and abilities. The following is a helpful list of these for you to review:
1. Good Leaders Lead By Example
Excellence in leadership involves practicing what you preach to the letter. You demonstrate the same behavior you expect in others.
As an article on michaelpage.com states, “If you demand a lot of your team, you should also be willing to set high standards for yourself.”
These words could not ring any clearer.
From the perspective of employees, if you are asking them to work extra hours, they will expect you to do the same. Moreover, an ideal leader would set the bar even higher, by working more hours than anyone else. Putting in even more effort to meet important deadlines will earn respect.
Further, a leader who is willing to work “in the trenches” with employees at all levels, will inspire loyalty. This results in an organization actively achieving its goals.
Talking down to others, and failing to live up to the same expectations, is a recipe for disaster. Toxic leadership in any form must be avoided at all costs.
By aligning your words and actions to the same standards you demand in others, you can set a powerful precedent for future success.
2. Excellent Leadership Is Decisive
Effective leadership requires efficiency. This is especially true when making decisions. Leadership is important for any organization to secure new opportunity. By making a “no time wasted decision” you can uphold productivity.
It should be noted that decisive decision-making also involves considering all the facts. If time is a factor, then use every available moment to review key information.
If all the materials and reports have been reviewed and you are still uncertain about how to proceed, then seek counsel. Your colleagues may have important knowledge they can lend to the decision-making process.
Once you have reviewed all the information, make your decision. Having considered all the details, you will be making the best choice going forward.
Having decided upon how to proceed, do not waver or turn back. Decisiveness is key to success. By faltering or acting uncertain, you will be damaging the confidence of those around you. This can cripple any progress towards your future goal.
By being mindful of timeframes and remaining decisive, you can protect your organization. Future difficulties cannot assail a decisive leader.
3. Important Leadership Instills Passion
Truly effective leadership believes strongly in both their organization’s mission and their people. When the skilled leader wakes up in the morning, their first thoughts are about the day ahead. They actively plan what must be accomplished.
The most fulfilling aspect of their life is their purpose. They truly care about their position. Moreover, they consider positively impacting the outcome.
Often this sense of duty can be contagious. It is not uncommon to see entire departments perform with heightened levels of productivity. This is because they are under the management of an effective leader.
Instill your passion in every purpose and action you have. In time, you will come to see the same behavior reflected in others.
4. Important Leadership Sets Attainable Goals
The importance of leadership in setting specific goals cannot be overstated. The most practical and capable leaders are excellent problem-solvers. In their mindset, there is no issue that cannot be resolved, no matter how difficult it may appear.
Rather than dwelling on problems, an effective leader will focus on solutions. Whether by personal research, experience, or root-cause analysis, they will always discover a path forward.
A key insight into the behavior of these skilled leaders, is that they never place the blame on anyone else. The burden of success is firmly placed on their shoulders alone. They can still seek help or advice. However, the goals and objectives of tomorrow are always firmly in their minds.
By prioritizing key tasks and remaining focused on a vision of the future, attainable goals can be met with relative ease.
5. Always Be Humble And Kind
An important aspect of leadership is in how we treat others. Garnering respect is a matter of humility and drive. By focusing on what needs to be done and respecting others during the process, you will earn acclaim. This will spread throughout your organization.
A key benefit of remaining humble is that it keeps your mind open to new possibilities. Moreover, other people are more willing to work with and lend new ideas to a humble individual.
They will see you as someone who is both approachable and intelligent.
If you are ever offered constructive criticism, take it with a smile. Often, our colleagues tend to vent their minor frustrations or concerns with emotionality. Understand this and recognize that there is always at least some truth to what they are attempting to describe. Remember that words themselves are often limited. It is the meaning behind them that must be considered carefully. You will be amazed at what can be accomplished at a personal level if you can accept and discern constructive criticism from those around you.
Never allow pride to get in the way of you accomplishing your objectives. If there is someone who is difficult to work with, that is necessary for you to achieve success, then accept them as they are. Remember that you are piloting yourself towards a necessary goal. Your vision cannot be compromised for the sake of ego. The responsibility you have to your organization is too great for that.
Think of yourself as a humble servant to both your people and your organization. This mindset will allow you to achieve things far beyond what you originally thought possible.
6. Shower Others With Credit And Praise When Appropriate
There is nothing that befits a skilled leader more than giving praise when it is due. All too often, we hear of stories where people (perhaps even our own coworkers) are being actively ignored. Their accomplishments are swept under the rug, and they begin to feel resentful towards others.
A great leader shares in the accomplishments of others. They are the first to credit someone who has performed admirably, and they make it a point to celebrate that person’s success with everyone.
This is an integral aspect of developing powerful teamwork dynamics. It builds trust. People can only work together effectively when they feel as if their own efforts are appreciated.
By showing that appreciation and taking the time to thank them for their efforts, you can instill a sense of pride in their accomplishments. It only takes mere moments, yet it can make a world of difference in your workplace culture.
7. Deliver Clear Communication
An important function of leadership is to deliver concise and clear instructions to everyone involved. The act of simply ordering people about is a sure-fire way to create disaster.
Rather than simply “boss” others around, take the time to sit down with them. Provide clear instructions both written and verbal, so that your employees have points of reference to operate with. If possible, send them an email, listing out your instructions in fine detail.
Moreover, be sure to prompt them by asking if they have any questions. You would be amazed at how often people are hesitant to ask perfectly reasonable questions unless asked to do so.
By taking the time to better disseminate key points of information, you are guaranteeing the success of your department. In effect, your input will be safeguarded.
Ideally, once the tasks are complete, review them privately. If there were any missteps, be sure to follow up, and patiently explain in detail what went wrong. Ask them what can be done to ensure that breakdowns in communication do not occur again. Moreover, be sure to question if the process itself is somehow at fault.
In that case, there may be deeper issues within the workflow or productive process itself that need to be addressed.
By ensuring effective communication and following up after each event, you will be promoting powerful flows of information. This also has an added benefit. You can learn about your own company’s strengths and weaknesses over time.
As a final note, this will also garner you the respect of those you work with. Employees are always grateful to receive thorough and up-to-date information. It enables them to perform optimally in their role.
8. Important Leadership Develops Others
Another important function of leadership in any organization, is helping others to grow. A great leader shares their own knowledge and experiences openly with others. Whether it’s a struggling colleague or a person who works for them. A skilled leader recognizes that everyone is at a different point in their personal development.
To build a strong team and foster long-term professional relationships, we must help others develop themselves. Moreover, by striving to build cooperation and rapport with others, you will inevitably be strengthening your own position.
The weakest link in an organization is an individual who has been deemed of little worth. Typically, these individuals are left to their own devices, and many assume they will simply quit out of sheer frustration. A great leader will take this person aside, and personally help them develop their skills.
By taking the weakest link in your organization, and turning it into the strongest one, you will have shifted a paradigm. Others will begin to see the value in going out of their way to assist their coworkers. This has a ripple-effect that can shift entire work cultures toward a much brighter future.
9. Maintains A Visionary’s Confidence
The most effective leaders are the first to step outside of their comfort zones. They aspire to their vision at all costs.
As true visionaries, they see every action they take as a step towards their unrealized goal. New actions or ideas do not bother them; they merely represent something momentarily unfamiliar.
In the same way, these visionaries view their organization as something that has yet to fully grow and develop. There is much work to be done, yet each piece of that task is what they remain dedicated to fulfilling.
The important virtue of leadership here, is that a visionary views complacency as the enemy. In an article by airswift.com, complacency is defined as, “… (being) so used to things being done the same way that you do not always look at the hazards in your surroundings.” This is an important lesson.
Rather than settle into a complacent routine, the skilled leader is constantly seeking to defeat new challenges. Anything representative of a “glass ceiling” or an obstacle, is to them, something that must be utterly defeated.
To such a visionary leader, the unknown is merely a frontier that has not yet been fully explored.
The organization’s growth is the goal, both a means and an end. New ideas are integral to their process. They view people as their greatest resource, and they never allow their own egos to get in the way of progress.
10. They Inspire Trust And Value The Trust of Others
Another important measure of leadership is trust.
Believing in someone who has proven themselves untrustworthy is a difficult proposition. Resentment and confusion are commonplace towards those who have failed the trust of others.
A great leader asks for and offers trust to those they work with. In turn, they place their best efforts towards developing that trust. No matter the rank of the other person involved, a great leader never violates trust at any point in time.
By proving yourself trustworthy to others, you will find they are more willing to approach you. People only confide in those they feel they can trust. This is very important, as it will yield key facts and feedback over time.
Interpersonal relationships are integral to the growth of any organization. By fostering trust, and promoting relationships throughout, you will be inevitably contributing to the development of your organization.
Why Is Leadership Important – Conclusion
Leadership is important to ensuring growth and development. As noted, even society and civilization as a whole, rely on important aspects of leadership to guide them to prosperity.
By adhering to the integral facets of leadership noted above, you can drive your workplace culture to new heights. Productivity and engagement will soar.
Avoid complacency at all costs. Strive to be aware of larger organizational goals in the long-term. Using these methods effectively will pay you dividends.
To be the best, you must practice consistently. Leadership exercises are a highly actionable means of improving your organization’s capabilities. Think of them as a series of drills, or a form of training.
The ability to delegate effectively and influence the outcome is a prerequisite for managing others in a meaningful way. Elements of leading are not complicated, though they are a skill that requires practice like any other.