The one ingredient that leadership demands is disciplined persistence. It is only when someone repeatedly performs the right habits over time that people can begin to trust a leader. Leadership is not a one time action then, but rather a lifestyle that permeates the entirety of one’s life. No matter how much that people want to be recognized as a leader in their workplace, if they are not a leader at home, then the positive is canceled out by the negative. A leader leads wherever they go. Leadership, therefore, cannot be compartmentalized into one area of life.
But, if you find yourself doing a better job at leading in one area of life than another, the good news is that you can learn to become a better leader in the areas where you lack. Once leaders see that leadership can be learned and that there are many different types of leaders, a newfound confidence will be instilled. It takes the pressure off when someone realizes that they don’t have to fill someone else’s shoes, but they can rather be themselves and still become a great leader. It also makes one realize that they can stop placing as much blame on other people as they may have in the past, and begin to see that in the end it is up to them to lead through their lives.
So, as you can see, I do not believe that is there one best way to lead. However, I do believe that the central theme to leadership has to be people for effectiveness to be found. This is why Marcus Buckingham‘s research on strengths based leadership has been to leadership development for the past decade. We all have different strengths, and we should not only know what those are, but we should develop them further. As long as people are at the center of all that leaders do, the journey to get there will be different for every person based on our strengths, but that is a beautiful thing. We are all unique.
Effective leadership happens when the leader not only uses his strengths and encourages others to do the same, but has also shown the why behind doing things. Effectiveness is then seen not only by what one does, but by what a team believes in. The difference between effective leadership and “successful” leadership has to with how the individual or the group behaves, performs, or reacts. Effectiveness lasts long-term, whereas “success” is much more short-term. Effective leaders produce humans who can think for themselves, whereas “successful” leaders produce puppets that need to be directed every step of the way.
Effective leadership has taken place when a team believes that they are helping people live better, more comfortable lives by what they do. When employees can grasp that they are actually helping people, they believe more in what they do, and will work harder to achieve their goals. When they work, just for the sake of working, they cannot connect the two, resulting in a lack of fulfillment found in their job.
On the contrary, I have seen when employees read a training manual, and then just go work. When this happens, it is sometimes difficult for employees to find the heart behind what they do. There has to be more to it than just words. What they need more of is passion behind what they do, and what they need to know more of is the why behind what they do. Sure, “successful” leadership is measurable, so it can be seen as a good enough counterfeit, but effective leadership will last much longer than short-term success ever will.