In every organization, everyone is a leader. However, not everyone believes they are a leader. Instead of me regurgitating what may have already been written or shown with regards to leadership and leadership, it would be best to write from experience as a school teacher and as a person who has served in various leadership roles with titles such as, ‘classroom teacher ‘,’ co-ordinator ‘,’ head of team ‘,’ deputy principal ‘,’ principal ‘within schools. The points that you will read do apply to many, if not all organizations. At some stage or other in people’s lives, they are either working for a higher authority or are the higher authority.
From observation and experience, a leader derives his or her power from authority, knowledge, personality, and persuasiveness. Tact in other words.
If people only follow because they ‘have to’ then one finds that the morale of the staff is low and that staff turnover is high. There are also quite a few ‘sick’ days! The leader is only a leader by title. The leader gets caught up in protocols, rights and organizational systems, as they become the basis for that person’s authority and influence. The leader is ‘in control’ because of appointment. Definitely very little to no leadership skill is demonstrated by these types of leaders. Being the boss and being the leader is very different. Positive reactions from staff result when they experience leaders who coach show how and consistently hear the word ‘we’ from the leader. Negative reactions from staff occur when they experience leaders who consistently drive, are continuously told how much the ‘leader’ knows and continuously hear the word ‘I’ sprouted by the ‘leader’. The staff cringe when they hear the word ‘leader’ in these cases. These types of leaders have to realize that few people follow because of titles. People would have certainly experienced those types of leaders. They do exist.
Thankfully, it does get better.
When people follow because they ‘want to’ it means that relationships are being and have been developed. The staff does things when they are not even obliged to. They see that the leader cares, has a heart and a good head on their shoulders. When staff see and feel that the leader has the genuine concern for people and includes them in the journey then there is tremendous harmony within the staff. There is usually a win-win situation even when dealing with difficult people. Staff who are highly motivated are continuously encouraged.
Leaders with such visits should not rest on their laurels. There should be, must be a flow on with their leadership development. HENCE staff follows a leader because of what the leader ‘has done’ for the school, the organization they work in. Staff momentum is high; it is flowing. Difficulties are over with very little fanfare or turmoil. Compared to what was mentioned earlier, morale is now high; energy is high. People really love coming to work. There is a great ‘sharing’ of information and results. Positive results rise quickly. They become the norm. When working with staff in this type of climate, this type of atmosphere, one finds the staff strives to work successfully towards achieving a particular purpose. They become result-oriented. The leader demonstrates that they are accountable too. They began with themselves. These leaders have developed themselves to be leaders of growth, personally and as a staff, and they have been able to clearly articulate the strategies and vision of the school or organization. Organizations love positive results.
Staff also follow leaders for what the leader has done for them as individuals and as a whole. Here staff stays for the long haul. The leader helps develop leaders and this ensures long-term growth for the school, the organization. A leader is great not because of their power but because of their ability to empower others. This shows up here. They realize that success without a successor is the failure. A worker’s main responsibility is doing work himself/herself. A leader’s main responsibility is developing others to do the work. It is here that staff and individuals are extremely loyal to the leader because they have been helped and encouraged to grow personally. These leaders have realized that people are their most valuable asset. They placed a priority on developing people.
Staff also follow the leader because of ‘who they are and what they represent’ and that is so powerful. This may take years but the rewards are numerous and definitely joyful.
At the beginning of the article, it was stated that everyone is a leader. Why? Because everyone affects someone. However, not everyone will become a great leader but everyone can become a better leader.
A person currently in a leadership position or aspiring to a leadership position should be a person who wants to develop their knowledge, understanding, and skills of leadership and leadership. They should be willing to unleash their leadership potential. It is a personal journey but a journey that has a significant effect on other people.