Friday, 2 September 2016

Is leadership really that important?

According to The Twenty First Century Corporation (2000), attracting, cultivating and retaining talented people is the indispensable ingredient that drives the ideas, products and growth of all companies. Why leadership is so important when it comes to this, is because an influential leader is the best way to get the best people to do their best work. Better leaders develop better employees and both, together, develop better products or services.

This however does not mean that a single leader, or group of leaders, are solely responsible for every detail, aspect or solution of a working organisation. That is a manager’s responsibility. What true leadership entails is taking potential and turning it into reality. And yes, while the buck might stop with a person in a leadership position, what a good leader does is ensures they have generated creativity, cultivated an environment of responsibility and inspired those within their organisation to do all that is possible to create a successful company.
Now while leading people may seem to come more naturally to some than others – it is always a journey fraught with constant challenge and surprise and therefore requires continuous improvement, self-management, development, constant reconnection and of course, communication. We, here at Workpoints, have highlighted a few pointers that will assist in the constant journey of becoming a better leader. Have a peek:
Emotional Maturity: There is no doubt that emotional maturity is a vital aspect in being or becoming a better leader. This means that an individual needs to be in tune with their emotions, needs to know how to relate to others and importantly, according Gosling, Jones, Sutherland and Dijkstra (2012) needs to accept criticism.
Self-Care: For organisations to maintain their vitality, their productivity and their competitive edge requires leaders who are healthy, strong and capable (Quick, Macik-Frey & Cooper, 2007). This means that an effective leader needs to keep their mental and physical health in check by maintaining a satisfactory balance between work, exercise, family and relaxation time.
Mental Models: Often mental models are formed by the experiences an individual is exposed to during the early stages of life. These models then continue to shape how that individual sees the world, makes decisions and relates to others. A good leader is able to reshape his or her mental models or view the world through others’ models or ways of seeing the world.
Ambiguity: Most companies, for example, look to what a leader has achieved to assess their performance. But in ambiguous circumstances with uncertain outcomes, you need to look at how a leader has acted (Anthony, 2010). A leader needs to understand the fast-changing pace of the work world and be prepared for pretty much anything.
Authentic: It has been found that when organisational leaders know and act upon their true values, beliefs, and strengths, while helping others to do the same, higher levels of employees’ well-being will accrue, which in turn have been shown to positively impact follower performance (Ryan & Deci, 2001). Therefore, potential and current leaders need to ensure that when leading others they remain true to themselves and what they stand for.
Self-mastery: And lastly, as stated previously, being an effective leader is no plain sailing – it will be a journey fraught with constant challenge and surprise and therefore requires continuous improvement, self-management and self-development. If a leader is to become complacent, he or she might not be as an effective leader as he or she may have originally thought. 

Jillian Dabbs (MCom Industrial Psychology)
Jillian is a part of our Behavioural Specialist team here at Workpoints. She is our content developer, our avid blogger as well as our party planner.

Workpoints is a fully featured reward, recognition and incentives platform that provides you with the tools to create a high performance organisation. Our easy-to-use application integrates simply into any organisation and instantly encourages staff to do the daily grind with excellence and energy. Visit for more info and a free trial!

Anthony, S. (2010). Harvard Business Review: Grooming Leaders to Handle Ambiguity. Leadership development:
Gosling, J., Jones, S., Sutherland, I., & Dijkstra, J. (2012). Key concepts in Leadership. Sage Publishing: LA.
Quick, J. C., Macik-Frey, M. & Cooper, C. L. (2007). Managerial Dimensions of Organizational Health: The Healthy Leader at Work Article in Journal of Management Studies. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-6486.2007.00684 
Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2001). On happiness and human potential: A review of research on hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Annual Review of Psychology, 52: 141-166.
The 21st Century Corporation, Business Week magazine, August 28, 2000.

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