While delivering a client cultural audit report, senior staff at the client asked: at what point do the staff know they have to stop being managers and become leaders?
Leadership is not inherited or natural. Leadership is learned. All you need is to understand the current challenges, communicate them so that people know. Create a compelling vision or ambition or aspiration that everyone can relate to. And have the conviction to rally people behind you to deliver that.
Our football coach in the primary had an easy way of identifying leaders. He would get a group of 15 to 20 boys and ask them to form themselves into two teams within the next two hours. Find a captain and identify their playing numbers.
Naturally, leaders would emerge without being appointed. Just by knowing what to do and mobilizing their respective teams to prepare and giving energy and guidance to people, as well as allocating them to their respective numbers. Many times, these leaders would have been part of the team somewhere and seen it in action. Others would have read about it. Thanks to their other skills of communication, attitude, and confidence, they find people listening to them.
If you want to lead, read more.
There are other two ways of identifying leaders:
- Ability to dig to the root cause of the problem fast
- Quick to synthesize data to what matters most.
Potential leaders ask what and why to go directly to the key issues. What is the issue? What is the root cause and why is that so? When you know the reasons of things happen the way they do, the problem gets well defined which is a good step towards solving it.
People with leadership acumen quickly synthesize and reduce may point to a few ones. When you go to a list with a list of 20 points, s/he will quickly reduce them to the top 5 to focus on. Leaders master the art of focus. Not everything is important. They spend a lot of time analyzing the top key priority areas. Managers, on the other hand, when you give them a list of say 6 items, they may end up adding them to 25! They increase the list instead!
If you want to become a better leader, focus on a few tasks at a time. Remove the noise. Put more attention on what matters.
Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.