By all accounts, there exists a vast deficit in leadership in businesses today. It’s not to say that untalented, uninspired people occupy ownership, executive or managerial positions. My experience is that most people that occupy these roles are bright, talented, and hardworking, and almost all are trying to do the right things. The trouble is that leadership is often wrongfully seen as wholly a natural skill, and that it is undervalued and under developed in business today. Here are 5 important insights about leadership that I hope will inspire you to develop your leadership skillset.
Vision plays a critical role in leadership
The Reticular Activating System (RAS) is the tiny part of the brain that manages our sensory organs; it helps us filter information and make choices (including fight or flight). Vision is an essential and powerful motivating force that acts as the compass for our brain. Vision sets our RAS and helps us make choices that keep up on track to achieve it.
Leaders recognize the role of leadership for achieving the vision
Leadership is a conscious choice to undertake the work and inspire others in the pursuit of a vision (or goal). Armed with a clear vision, all leaders make a deliberate choice to lead and understand that in doing so they are influencing and shaping the lives of others. To lead well is to influence people and outcomes in a positive way.
The vast majority of effective leaders aren’t born with the skillset
Research shows that leadership skills, on average, are 70% learned and 30% born. While actual ratios are subject to individual circumstances, it’s reasonable to assume that in the vast majority of cases, learned leadership skills play a vitally important role in the evolution of all leaders.
Leadership is different from management and the primary force behind success
Leaders set goals and define the direction and pace of change in business; managers measure and control systems and processes. The pace of change in business today is so rapid that managers are increasingly required to lead. There exists clear evidence that better results are achieved in the presence of effective leadership.
Leaders are conscious of the need to hone their skillset
There is a difference between learning a skill and mastering one. Just like natural musical or athletic talents, mastering leadership requires a commitment, practice, and attention to learning. Leaders must put their skills into practice, learn from their mistakes and hone their craft.