06 October, 2016

The Perspiration of Leadership

The Perspiration of Leadership

Photo Credit: SparkCBC

Leadership. This might be a word that is overused, misquoted and certainly an attribute that is often studied when talking about those leading our country.

But what is leadership? When we talk about people not having the leadership to govern or lead a team, what exactly are we talking about?

John Adams, the sixth President of the USA, famously described leaders as:

‘If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

As John Eades, CEO of Learnloft describes, everyone has certain events in their lives; it is their response to those events that results in an outcome. It is in these outcomes that we as a community want positive movement.

Event + Response = Outcome

In both instances, this talks about an action occurring. It is through these actions that leaders stand up and stand out.

Recently I received a State Emerging Leader award through the Australian Institute of Management. I am off to the National finals in Brisbane in mid October. But this award got me thinking deeper about what others see as leadership and why some get recognised over others.

The Perspiration of Leadership

The CEO of AIM (David Pich, in the photo above on the right), spoke about the seven areas that make up great leaders, he called this the perspiration of leadership. These seven points are:

1. Setting strategy

I talk a lot about the importance of knowing the organisational purpose, why you are doing what you are doing and the direction you are taking to get there. Leaders know where they are going and why.

2. Defining culture

Culture is so important. Without the right culture then your team is not united around the purpose, they are pulling in different directions, or even worse, not pulling at all. You need to create the right environment to create success. Leaders know that culture is about people first and foremost.

3. Leaders make decisions

As John Eades mentioned, there are events in our lives every day, it is how we respond to those events that determines the outcome. Leaders make the right decisions based on research and experience and their ability to analyse the event or situation. They listen to those around them, be it stakeholders or experts. But at the end of the day, leaders make decisions.

4. Ethical Leadership

We need to set our bar of awesomeness as leaders high and listen to our conscience. If our ethics as leaders are high, then we can demand high standards of our team. Leadership takes courage to make the right decisions, even when they are the hardest ones to make.

5. Diversity

We are living in an interconnected World and therefore the most successful teams are those that reflect the environment we want to be successful in. Great leaders understand that every member of our teams has a different perspective and skills to bring. So including, mentoring and encouraging that diversity in thinking brings about better results. Leaders encourage this diversity in their team because vanilla teams are boring.

6. Networking is working

The more people you as a leader have around you, the more successful you will be. This requires you to get out of your office and network, understand what is happening in your organisation, what the latest research is and where the strategic shifts and emerging movers and shakers in the industry are heading. Successful leaders are those that dedicate time to being around other successful people.

7. Leading people

Being a leader is about recognizing and celebrating your team. It is about wrapping up these other six points into providing the actions to inspire others, like John Adams speaks about. Leaders don’t manage their people, because managing is about a process, leadership is about inspiration and that is so much harder. But success was never meant to be easy!

I believe that the ultimate job of a leader is to create more leaders. This requires you to be inspirational. It requires you to be open with your time, knowledge and experience. Being a leader is about serving those who you are there to lead. Inspirational leaders are those that help people reach their potential and in doing so they create a team that is loyal. 

The Perspiration of Leadership

I am proud to call myself a leader and I am passionate about the development of people to reach their potential. You can connect with me on the below social media links, or send me an email!

© 2019 Paul Mead