Leadership is perhaps one of the most misunderstood concepts that exists among those who consider themselves a leader, those who want to be a leader, and those who follow the leader.
Many have long thought that leadership is all about giving orders. And most of the time, people follow those orders because the person who dispenses them seems to have all the right answers.
As a result, many people at the bottom of the decision-making ladder follow their leader even if it means going over the cliff because they were “told to do so.”
In the past century, a top-down leadership and management strategy worked. Hierarchical commands, control mindsets, bureaucratic processes, and standardization were necessary to get things done.
Yet, that really no longer holds true in a knowledge-based economy shaped, sometimes overnight, by the pace, information, and flexibility of the global market.
Transformational leadership has become the hallmark – and buzz word – of modern times.
For a business to adapt to these changes and challenges in a timely manner, leaders have to be attuned to what’s happening on the ground. Additionally, lower levels must recognize and appreciate the authority of the leader in order for him or her to really have any impact.
Hence, part of a company’s business strategy and development should include more participation from the rank and file. When employees are more engaged in how the business is run, they are less likely to feel indifferent and put in just the minimum amount of effort to get by.
The most effective of leadership styles taps into the collected – and collective –knowledge of employees.
It is the “workers” who are often an excellent source of business process feedback and business ideas. It is these players who are at the front lines, dealing with customers and suppliers – the likes of which can upset the company’s bottom line, but are often not handled well.
By its very nature, consultative leadership allows employees to step up, make decisions, and learn from their mistakes for future success.
This leadership style might seem costly at first glance, but it’s actually beneficial when employees take ownership of their responsibilities on their own or without coercion.
Setting up a system that enables leaders to let go with confidence and trust their employees to exercise their own judgment breeds contributors who are inspired, enthusiastic, and willing to go the extra mile.
Consequently, a company can emerge in which all participants ensure that organizational goals are achieved because they, too, have a stake in the success or failure of the decision that are made.
Icon Credits (thenounproject.com):
Gan Khoon Lay; Irene Hoffman; Danielle Simpson; Universal Icons