January 13, 2013

Leadership - It's About Behavior

Image Source: www.edinboro.edu
For many years, people of all ages and walks of life have used both the terms - Leadership and Management rather immoderately. Starting from job descriptions created by the Human Resources departments of organizations, the list of people who've used includes senior executives of big and small companies, authors and also students.

While it's not completely wrong to think that the schools of management can teach Leadership, it's not completely true either. Perhaps even those senior executives who seem to mix management and leadership, don't really intend to do so. But clearly the two are different, and this article Management Is (Still) Not Leadership by +John Kotter on +Harvard Business Review blog talks about it quiet nicely. In this article we'll focus just on Leadership. There are multiple theories of leadership and I belong to the one that believe in the fact that Leadership is Not Just about Attributes, but about Behavior.

It's unfair to judge someone's leadership skills by observing the person's attributes or traits. As compiled  by +Santa Clara University's Tom Peters Group, good leaders are honest, competent, forward-looking, inspiring, intelligent, fair-minded, broad-minded, courageous, imaginative and straightforward. What really matters is to see if the person has a good behavior - something that's strong enough to put all of the traits together to lead an organisation or a group of people forward, into the future.
Courage, not complacency, is the need of the day. Leadership, not Salesmanship - John F.Kennedy
Generally it's believed that good behavior and hence their character usually is something that people pick up in the formative years of their lives. While it does change in the later years, it's not that quick - and, that's the core of what we need to understand. Strong behavior is associated with people who display zeal, determination, self-discipline and courage.

In reality, senior managers in organizations are picked based on performance for Leadership Programs to grow them into future Leaders. Also, some middle-management (and sometimes, freshers) think that the Business-degree programs like the MBA or a PG Diploma ones will help them learn leadership, apart from getting into senior management. If you or your organization believes so, invest some time in giving your belief another serious thought.

In summary, if you are in search of either becoming a good leader, choosing a good leader or building good leadership in your organization, do consider spending some time thinking and reading some good materials around this topic. An introspection is a good start - Leadership starts from within!

As always, Stay Tuned and Stay Inspired!
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