Let us imagine the portrait of a great leader. Who comes in mind? Okay let's make it easy , what kind of personality does that leader of your imagination have ? Yeah it differs from person to person how one perceive the leader to be. In some imagination, Autocratic "Hitler" might come into mind .Or at times Nelson Mandela the democratic freedom fighter might come into mind. Alternatively, you may choose any other leader, Might be your team leader, your supervisor, boss or any political leader.
Being the leader is the challenging task. We study every time , organization is the method of getting things done .But it is more preferable to say Organization is like a football play which shows a general plan and each individuals contribute to it . Watching the football match gives a proper view what is the teamwork and how each can contribute for achieving the goal. Successful leader is the one who can take all individual focus on the organizational goal along with achieving the personal growth.
To be the successful leader one has to learn: Men are complex, and Men are different. Dealing with complex and different individuals is the challenge for leaders. People are not donkey who respond to carrot shown by his driver, rather people responds to ambition, patriotism, love of good and so many different feeling. Emotions and feelings are the important element of people responsiveness.
For a leader to be successful one must
- Understand goals and purpose of the subordinate
- Be in position to satisfy them
- Seem to understand the implication of his action
- Consistent and clear in decision
It is an impression that a leader makes at any one time that will determine the influence on his followers. In addition, there comes another word perception. Perception is such a thing that it makes everyone good and everyone bad at the same time with the same given circumstances. Let us think of a situation. If it is said A person is warm intelligent, ambitious, thoughtful. A kind of picture is made. And if it said, A person is Cold, intelligent, ambitious, thoughtful. A very different kind of picture is made. Look at the difference in these two kinds of person. With a change in a single word following other words similar, isn't the whole picture changed? One is perceived to be good and the other is perceived to be not good person. The different in perception of leader and subordinate might bring the clash in the organization too. Successful leaders are prepared that employees consider employer as the natural enemy. Moreover, in such case acting like the boss can be destructive too.
It is always said that being leader is the challenge, but thinking from the subordinate side , It is not easy to be subordinates." If I take order from others, it limits the scope of independent decision and judgments. And it is more difficult to take order from whom I do not consider superior." Because of which acting friendly or maintain equality with subordinate might not work well. It is also not good to pretend that subordinate can make certain decisions if they really cannot. However, subordinate must feel that he is free to operate. The leader must clarify the goals and suggest alternative ways of achieving them. A leader for example show the two different plan A and B .and also suggest that I would choose plan B over A but you are free to choose any one. Subordinate will certainly choose plan B and wont risk by taking A.
Leader must accept the fact that employee learn from mistake. Subordinate must find leader as most interested in and helpful towards achieving his goal. As leadership is an interaction among people, it require follower with particular skills and a leader who know how to use it.
Leadership is a lot more than understanding people being nice to people and not pushing other people around. Leader can be democratic providing employees maximum opportunity of growth .Leader job is to provide recognition of role and function within the group that permit each member to satisfy and fulfill some major motive and interest.
(Based on the article "Understanding leadership " By W.C.H. Prentice Published on Harvard Business Review)