“Can the True Leaders Please Stand Up? – By Reinette FarajallahEMEA Sunday, July 15th, 2012
I came to the realization that leadership is an elusive concept and principle in today’s business world. Most of the senior managers that I come in contact with think they are leaders. However, when you look at the confusion that is so evident amongst people in organizations today, you quickly realize that something is wrong, very wrong.
So what is going on? In order to examine the situation, let us first create understanding about what leadership is. According to the dictionary (I chose to use the simplest definition), leadership is the action of leading a group of people or an organization. So leadership involves leading people on the one hand, and on the other hand it implies that people should follow. Therefore, in order to determine whether there is leadership, one should be able to easily identify follow-ship. A true leader is like a magnet, he draws people onto himself, he does not have to push them against their will.
Now that we understand what leadership is, let us look at why senior managers do not necessarily lead. In order to be a leader, you need to make the shift from managing through processes and systems to managing through people. That implies that a leader needs to have a high level of emotional maturity (understanding who he is) in order to show respect for all people in all circumstances, to inspire them and to help them become all that they can be. Leadership means that you connect with people, you build trust and you actually serve your followers. Leadership means that you must be humble and not prideful (full of yourself). Leadership means that you create for the good of all (unselfish) versus for the good of only a selected few (selfish).
Looking at what leadership truly means, perhaps now we can see why there is not an abundance of true leaders.
As a senior manager, if your focus is only on money, surplus value, competitive advantage, improved productivity, cost reduction and rapid growth, your legacy will be short lived with no sustainability. However, if you have a vision to lead unchartered waters and you understand the value of getting there through people, you will achieve all of the above and so much more.
Now may I ask; can the true leaders please stand up?