What is leadership? Reply

You can find leadership in every sort of work and play, and in every sort of project, regardless of scale, and regardless of financial or official authority.
There are many different aspects of leadership. The following are some perspectives:

In my opinion – motivating others to achieve an aim is a large part of leadership. But why should people follow your direction? I believe that people are inspired by leaders that demonstrate value based leadership behaviors. These leaders follow principles and lead by example.

I think leaders need to “be out there” for their employees. They should continually demonstrate to them why and how they earned the position they now hold. They need to communicate with them using any of a variety of methods that show them they are worthy of being followed. I believe that if that process is inspiring and positive you can almost guarantee that your results will be consistent with your efforts.

Building a sense of trust and credibility is also key for leaders of today operating in a transparent world. They need to build the team around them, to listen with humility, act with courage and earn their rewards through building trust. Trust is achieved through the sincere demonstration of values and principles in daily conduct and by treating people with dignity and respect.

Values-based leaders are not defined by a position. Rather, they cultivate change, and are guided by healthy values and wise actions. They transform traditional organizations because they don’t surrender their values. Instead, they practice them.

Leadership is ‘Development of a clear and complete system of expectations in order to identify, evoke and use the strengths of all resources in the organization – the most important of which is people’ (Batten, 1991)

They focus primarily on healthy, timeless human values as ends in themselves.

They help others to lead themselves so that they can make key decisions. They encourage individual and group intelligence by giving the power to provide input and feedback on organizational decisions.

They demonstrate values and harness differences and diversity for innovation, creativity and a common vision. They are an agent of change and are leaders who help to bring about almost a revolution to fulfill values while leading their organization.

Leaders, by choice, have the ability to cultivate potential in others. The work begins with the leader who lives, works and leads in alignment with their core values, principles and beliefs to in turn ignite the potential in those around them.

There are many aspects to modern leadership. Future leaders need to be encouraged to be responsible and create an efficient, dynamic, and humane environment, while achieving ambitious goals with regards to both individual and organizational success, global co-operations, human values, human resource issues such as motivation, implementation of changes, personal ambitions, etc.

In my opinion, today’s leaders need to be able to gain trust and inspire employees to ultimately reassure and advance change in the unpredictable business environment of today. Today’s leaders must first have the natural desire to be a servant first, to serve others, which will then lead to their conscious effort to develop themselves into an effective leadership position (Hein, 2003). Being able to establish and achieve a sustainable strategic vision for their organization or community is the central role of a servant leader (Banutu-Gomez, 2004), rather than establishing and achieving their personally beneficial goals (Dubrin, Dalglish & Miller, 2006).

Dubrin et al suggest that the following leadership roles are adopted for success:

– Place service before self interest
– Listen first to express confidence in others
– Inspire trust by being trustworthy
– Focus on what is feasible to accomplish
– Lend a hand
– Provide tools

These are age-old principles that need to be fostered and grown in organizations today.

Motivation Reply

How does a business benefit from having a well-motivated workforce?
As we all know, a well-motivated workforce can provide the following advantages:

Increased productivity
Lower levels of absenteeism
Lower levels of turnover
Lower training and recruitment costs


But what is it that encourages or motivates workers to go beyond the confines of their role and job description? What factors make staff go the “extra mile”?

Having “engaged employees” is potentially a source of competitive advantage and can also be invaluable when a business is going through a process of change.

By definition, motivating factors vary from firm to firm and across different industries. Employees in service businesses have different opportunities to attend to customer needs than those operating in the primary or secondary sectors. The organizational structures and cultures of businesses also vary widely.

The role of business leadership is also identified as a strong motivator, which is pretty unsurprising but still important. Good leadership instills a sense of mission & purpose in employees. An employee is unlikely to go the extra mile for a boss who they don’t trust or respect.

Employees who look at their jobs as a service to others, or as serving their boss according to Wharton management professor Adam Grant are the most satisfied with their job roles. Grant has devoted significant chunks of his professional career to examining what motivates workers in settings that range from call centers and mail-order pharmacies to swimming pool lifeguard squads. In all these situations, Grant says, employees who know how their work has a meaningful, positive impact on others are not just happier than those who don’t; they are vastly more productive, too.

Grant also suggests that “task significance” is a key driver, and that face-to-face interactions, even seemingly superficial ones, can serve as a way of driving that significance home. In other studies he has found that engineers, salespeople, managers, customer service representatives, doctors, nurses, medical technicians, security guards, police officers and firefighters who can directly see their impact on others all achieve higher job performance.

Motivation has been studied for decades and leaders in the workplace have used assessments like Myers-Briggs to determine their employee’s personality types to better anticipate behaviors and tendencies. Additionally, motivational books are used as tools to get employees to increase their performance and / or get them back on track. While assessments, books and other tools can help project and inspire short and long performance, the factors that motivate employees to achieve evolve as they mature and begin to truly understand what matters most to them. Therefore, as leaders we must hold ourselves accountable to build meaningful and purposeful relationships that matter with our employees. This allows us to better understand those we are serving, just as much as ourselves.

As a leader, we need to not just read the assessment scores, we should get to know those whom we are leading and be specific about how we help each of them achieve their goals, desires and aspirations. The objective should be to help one another and to accomplish this each of us must identify those things that motivate us both to work together.

Forbes has identified nine (9) things that ultimately motivate employees to achieve.

Trustworthy Leadership – Leaders that have your back and that are looking out for your best interests – will win the trust of their employees who in turn will be more motivated to achieve.

Being Relevant – In today’s world where everyone wants to be noticed and recognized for their work – employees are motivated to achieve to remain relevant.

Proving Others Wrong – This particular motivation to achieve has been heighten as of late from younger professionals that seek to prove themselves faster amongst older generations in the workplace.

Career Advancement – Perhaps the most important factor on this list is the ability to advance. Employees are extremely motivated to achieve if this means that advancement awaits them.

No Regrets – People don’t want to live with any regrets in their career/life and thus are motivated to not disappoint themselves.

Stable Future – People are motivated to have safety and security.

Self-Indulgence – This factor is quite interesting and extremely important to put into proper perspective. People are motivated for selfish reasons to achieve money, attention, fame, etc.

Impact – As mentioned earlier on, today’s employees are motivated to achieve more than ever simply by the opportunity to create impact.

Happiness – In the end, happiness is one of the greatest motivations to achieve. Happiness fuels ones self-esteem and gives people hope for a better tomorrow.

So, as leaders we are obligated to understand our employees motivational drivers and strive to provide the environment and opportunities that will allow them to be successful as well be the fuel driving successful organizations forward.

Mentors in business Reply

In life one can have many mentors, a family member, a family friend, a friend’s parent. As people come and go through one’s life journey we come across folks who influence and guide us and have an impact on how we think and behave. A lot of this is unconscious both from the mentor and the person being influenced.

Why not take a conscious approach towards mentor relationships in business?

My perspective on this topic in the business world stems from observing a huge talent pool of youth entering the business world, ready and eager to learn. The energy and aptitude in them is tremendous, however the wisdom that comes from experience takes time to acquire, and is lacking.
Why not pair these individuals with members of the workforce getting ready to retire, or even those who have already retired from the organization to help the new generation build their skills and propel their growth.

The concept of a mentor stretches back through recorded time.
In Greek mythology, Mentor was a loyal friend and adviser to Odysseus, king of Ithaca. Mentor helped raise Odysseus’ son, Telemachus, while Odysseus was away fighting the Trojan War. Mentor became Telemachus’ teacher, coach, counselor and protector, building a relationship based on affection and trust.

Mentoring today is synonymous with the process by which we guard and guide others. Mentors seemingly “adopt” those placed in their care.

It seems like a good idea to adopt these age-old ideas and help our employees along their career and life path. Specifically in the business world.

At its best, business mentoring is a process that activates the skills of the mentee within their current role and helps groom them for their next. Business mentoring helps them to produce high quality decisions that define them, their authority and their effectiveness. A business mentor provides a confidential sounding board, thinking room, and support for working through crucial and often complex decisions.

Business mentoring can also help organizations to retain their best people and increase staff loyalty.

I think that the quality that can be achieved in a business mentoring program would hinge on the expertise of those establishing the program in achieving the right fit between mentee and mentor. The best results will definitely be achieved when the mentor and mentee like and respect each other and where the personal chemistry is right.

A business mentor, by virtue of their experience, will be able to help the mentee steer through the organization. Perhaps more importantly, the business mentor will help the mentee to understand some of the more informal ways of getting things done and some of the unwritten and unstated ways of working (the world of corporate politics!), and therefore develop the mentee’s professional expertise and career.

Today, mentoring is being recognized as an important component of small business development. Many like myself see a void in the larger corporate business world and want to fill that void.

Mentoring uses the resources a company already has to improve employee satisfaction, develop leadership, and teach new skills.

Newswise says — Mentoring can be a powerful tool in introducing employees to an organization’s climate and help them progress in their jobs. It can be extremely beneficial to have someone who has your best interests at heart and can explain the facts of business life and offer valuable advice.
Informal mentoring has been going on forever, but companies are increasingly recognizing that formal mentoring programs can provide significant benefits for both the employee and the company, says Dr. Lillian Eby, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Georgia and an authority on corporate mentoring. 
Perhaps the most compelling reason to establish a formal mentoring program is that mentored employees have stronger commitment to the organization and are less likely to leave. “A key benefit of mentoring is retention. Turnover costs can be staggering. That’s one reason why organizations include mentoring programs as part of their business objectives,” Eby says.

Also, there is evidence that mentoring can lead to more satisfied employees, and therefore more productive and creative employees that will only add value to their organizations.