The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision.
You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.
~ Theodore M. Hesburgh
One of my passions is “Business and Leadership.” It affects every area of our lives. I was in a discussion recently centered on leadership, developing leaders and how to deal with those who do not lead naturally or lead well. How do we develop those people?
How do we grow leaders?
The best method for growing people’s confidence in general, as well as growing the next waves of leaders is by giving them opportunities to grow and to shine. We can either create mock scenarios for them to work through or we can give them pieces of projects with increasing demands and responsibilities as they rise to each challenge.
We give people opportunities to show us “what they’ve got.” We let them do more things on a limited, but expanding basis. The counter argument to this was that, “We do things as a team. There is no us and them.” This will not be a popular sentiment, but hogwash!
The myth of leaderless teams
Imagine if you will you want to start a rowing team. Everyone on your perspective team is strong and committed. Each person has put in time training, hard. They have studied films and are ready to get in the water together and learn and compete. Everyone that you have invited comes to the first “official” meeting, brimming with ideas. Ideas about how to train, where to train, how often to train, picking out the proper boat and which races or competitions they want to enter first.
Together you can sort out who is going to be the stroke master-or if this is going to be done in some sort of rotation. But eventually, you must choose a captain for the team. The captain, in order to be effective, must be a strong-willed, capable, organized person. But, I would contend that the most important attribute of the captain is to be able to harness everyone’s energy and opinions, have the final say, have it respected and then executed.
No matter how much we like the idea of team collaborative effort as the way we get things done, without a leader, a vision cannot be pursued by the team.
Every person can caste a vote and have an opinion which will be respected, but someone must decide. They must decide when there has been enough discussion. They must decide if there is going to be a vote. They must decide, communicate and enforce the final decision that the team will follow, and move forward. They must then decide this is how to move forward. They must keep everyone accountable.
And, so it is with business. If you are a member of a team within a larger organization or running your own shop and have a small team, there will always be one voice that speaks and is heard above the rest. There will be one person who see the vision more clearly, who sounds the certain trumpet of the way forward. This is the leader.
A leaderless team is an illusion, a matter of semantics. A leader must lead. The leader may not have the biggest title or may possess a quiet demeanor, but they do the one job that no one else does, they lead.
photo credit 1: http://www.flickr.com/photos/21427023@N03/3677049425/