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Leaders Pay More Attention to Others And Less to Themselves

There will always be a need for leadership in one form or another. In this way there will always be people who need some form of leadership. Also, according to many authors, the need for leadership is natural (receiving and giving), natural comes from our biology. Fortunately, it isn't only biology, it's also a skill and therefore to a certain extent also learnable

There's no agreement about the what and how of leadership. What we do know is that, regardless of who exercises leadership, everything needs to be arranged in the workplace and there's work to be coordinated and we call that leadership. There's no leadership theory that isn't critical and the same goes for the definition of leadership. A commonly used definition is: Leadership is a process by which an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal (Peter Northouse).

Like disciplines such as group dynamics and organizational science, leadership science (in the words of Ben Tiggelaar) isn't evidence based, but evidence inspired.

Leadership matters

Of all factors in the working environment, the direct manager has the greatest impact on productivity, job satisfaction and involvement.

Gallup's research shows that of all factors in the work environment, the immediate superior has the greatest impact on employee productivity, job satisfaction and engagement. This seems to demonstrate the importance for good leadership. But for those who aren't yet convinced, there's another argument to be made.

Many leaders create a demotivating working environment

Various studies (such as that of the Hay Group from 2013) show that the influence of the direct manager is more often negative than positive. The majority, often without even knowing it, create a demotivating working atmosphere. Globally, 55% of employees say their supervisor creates a demotivating working environment. For managers, the score is even higher, 68%.

It will come as a surprise that the involvement of employees isn't too good either. Only 9 percent of the employees appear to be really involved in their work

Leadership in 12 quotes

- Effective leaders ask themselves every day what their employees need to perform optimally (Ben Tiggelaar).
- Successful people can become good leaders when they learn to shift their focus from themselves to others (Goldsmith).
- If you want to lead others, you must first learn to lead yourself (Peter Drucker et al).
- You can measure the class of a leader by the demands he places on himself (Ray Kroc).
- An important requirement for leaders (actually effective people) is that they're able to show proactive behavior. Proactive people choose not to be victims or blame others (Covey sr).
- Apart from influencing others, everyone has to deal with the challenge of personal leadership: formulating their own goals and translating them into action.
- The best evidence for what people really think and believe we find less in their words than in their actions (Cialdini).
- People judge themselves by their intentions, others judge us by our behavior.
- In the definition of leadership, a core concept is "influence," and it's exercised by someone without the title "leader."
- If your behavior isn't consistent with the person you want to be, you'll never become that person.
- What would happen if we look at what's good about people instead of fixing on what's wrong with them? (Clifton, Buckingham, Goldsmith).
- Traditional thinking assumes that thinking - doing changes. But how it really works is different. Doing changes thinking (Ibarra).

The leader must meet many requirements

Almost no one can meet the leadership profile of tomorrow's leader, but these are the requirements that come up regularly.

The leader is of service, has a passion for the business, is transparent, has a clear vision of the future, is able to transfer his vision, is reliable, strong in self-management, lives according to his own set of values ​​and can put them into practice, has the courage to make difficult decisions, can maintain lasting relationships, can keep himself and others to agreements, is proactive, expressive, reasonable, flexible, patient, intuitive, resilient and cooperative.

Four schools or visions of leadership - there's no truth

There are four views of leadership, which are mutually exclusive, but also complement each other for the open-minded among us.

1. The traits approach: the leader is smarter, more energetic, intelligent, focus on control, confident and extroverted.

2. The Behavioral Approach: This's where the leader's behavior is central, with emphasis on work-oriented behavior, the things that need to be done, - also called initiating structure and production orientation - or (and actually) on behavior that focuses on the individual employee and his motivation, and that's called consideration structure or employee orientation in the jargon.

The findings of Ohio State University and University of Michigan studies show that those who combine both "work-oriented" and "relationship-oriented" approaches achieve the best results.

3. The contingency approach: the characteristics of work and employees determine which style is most effective. The well-known situational leadership is part of this school. For some new tasks, the employee mainly needs instruction, while for tasks that he knows well and for which he's motivated, delegation is the appropriate style. This raises the dilemma of the lack of consistent behavior. People like predictability, which isn't always the case in this case. You may, no you must treat employees differently.

4. The Transformational Approach: Here, the leader helps employees rise above themselves and challenge them to demonstrate self-leadership. The leader as a role model with attention to values ​​and norms and (higher) goals.

And then there are leadership schools, such as servant leadership, spiritual leadership and the skills theory and finally the non-school: laissez faire leadership.

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