What is Leadership and How is it Different from Being a Reactionary?

The first job of leadership is to design the systems correctly. If the leader doesn’t get the design right, the entire system crumbles. The leader should create a right alternative without getting tricked by emotions. Firstly, he should refuse to do everything bad that others did in the past. Right alternate needs to go beyond unfairness. Once someone is able to identify something unfair, it does not reflect any leadership. Leaders have to develop an alternative that is vastly superior to the previous alternatives.

An alternative should have the below features:

  • Should not be reactive
  • Should not be vindictive
  • Should keep the focus on tomorrow, rather than stopping everything today
  • Should be viable and structurally solid to last for long time

Change does not happen easily
They say no king ever did a revolution. The king typically benefits from status quo. So he does not ask for change. Change does not happen easily. Firstly, there may be some people who will be negatively affected by change and obviously they protest against the change. While this is obvious, changing anything leads to inconvenience and affected people will complain.

Leaders educate people on the benefits of the right alternative
Established ways of doing things are easier, even if they are not delivering the results. So leaders have to do a lot of communication explaining their point of view, as to why change is better and how change is superior to the temporary pain of change. They need to spend a lot of time advocating the benefit of the new right alternative so people can change their behavior.

Leaders need to motivate and inspire people to move in the direction of the right alternative. This may not be the easiest or the one that everyone is most used to. But if the new way is the best approach, then the leaders need to enable many people to move in this direction.

Build a team that can deliver on the new alternative
Leaders should be careful who they chose as part of their execution team. The easiest way to derail something is by choosing team members poorly.

Leaders need to identify people who will ensure the new way of doing things is executed. As any new initiatives start there are unscrupulous people tend to join the bandwagon. They need to build a team that can deliver and has the commitment to overcome the challenges. At the same time, the team having commitment without skill or competence is of no use.

Leaders need to deliver the results
Leaders need to help achieve the results. They need to guide in ensuring the desired outcomes are delivered. Leaders should not allow key people to get distracted or change things away from the right alternative. They need to maintain the new culture. Culture is what is practiced not what is written or talked. There is a need to walk the talk.

An important attitude of leadership is to be both detail oriented and also to enable and inspire others in the right direction.

Finally, leadership needs to deliver the results to the regular people. The people they are serving need to succeed, not the leaders. Many times leaders spend their energies concentrating on controlling the perception of their leadership rather than delivering the desired outcomes to the people they serving.

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