In today’s competitive environment, leaders are continually searching for new ideas and approaches to improving their understanding of leadership. Here are thumbnail descriptions of current leadership trends.
A new trend in effective leadership, coaching, has become extremely popular throughout different organizations. This style of leadership involves guiding employees in their decision-making process. When coaching, management provides employees with ideas, feedback, and consultation, but decisions will ultimately be left in the hands of the employees. Coaching prepares employees for the challenges they will face. The lower an employee’s skill and experience level, the more coaching the worker will require. The interactions that an employee
has with the manager are the best opportunities they have for enhancing their respective skills. Coaching enables the employees to excel at their tasks. Instilling confidence in employees is extremely important. If management conveys the belief that employees will exceed expectations, it helps them do so.
A good coach will draw out the strengths of each employee and focus on how those strengths can be directed most effectively to achieve the organization’s purpose and objectives. A good coach will also facilitate personal development and an improvement process through which the employee will be able to play a more effective role in achieving the organization’s purpose and objectives. An effective coach also realizes that each employee is unique, with different strengths and weaknesses, and that a coaching strategy must reflect this individualistic approach.
As organizations and companies become increasingly borderless, employee empowerment becomes ever more important. This trend in leadership has allowed employees to participate in the decision-making processes. Employee empowerment is also a method for building employee self-esteem and can also improve customer satisfaction. It also ties them more closely to the company goals and will serve to increase their pride in their work and loyalty to the organization.
As corporations become increasingly international in scope, there is a growing demand for global leaders. Although many of the qualities that make a successful domestic leader will make a successful global leader, the differences lie in the abilities of the leader to take on a global perspective. Global leaders are often entrepreneurial; they will have the ambition to take their ideas and strategies across borders. They will also have to develop cultural understanding; global leaders must be sensitive to the cultures of those working under them, no matter where they are based. Global leaders must also be adaptable; this is part of accepting the cultural norms of different countries in which they are operating. They must know when to adapt the operational
structure of the organization or adjust their leadership styles in order to relate to those around them. However, as adaptable as they must be, the global leader should not adapt his or her ethics or values to suit lo-cal tastes. Global leaders must also serve as role models, fighting corruption, not giving in to it.
An important trend in leadership is the equitable treatment of employees. This does not mean that each employee will be treated the same; it means that every employee will be given the amount of individual attention they require, and it will involve leadership knowing his or her employees. A good leader will get to know employees well enough to give them what they need in order to best perform. For some employees that may mean more structure; for others it may mean more freedom. Some employees may need to be monitored more carefully, while others may work better independently. Leaders must know how to bring out the best in employees and how to build solid relationships with them; the most effective way of doing this is by getting to know them individually.
Employees thrive on feedback, and by providing feedback and communicating effectively, managers can give employees the tools they need to improve their performance.
Providing feedback will not dampen employee morale in most cases, but will allow opportunities for employees to learn from their mistakes and move on to performing their tasks better. Positive reinforcement should be used to encourage employees’ positive behavior, but when criticism is necessary, make sure it is constructive. Managers can do this best by telling employees exactly what was observed and how they interpreted it; this also will allow employees to better understand what the manager saw in their performance and to explain if there has been a misunderstanding. The 360-degree assessment tool discussed in Chapter 1 provides an effective means of feedback. This type of open dialogue between management and employees creates a more trusting atmosphere and is more likely to generate positive performance results.
PURSUING A LEADERSHIP ROLE
When pursuing a leadership role in an organization, it is important to gain insight into effective leadership.
Draw upon your firsthand experience in leadership roles; think of the lessons you have learned from leading clubs, teams, or other groups.
It is also important to read about other leaders. Most world leaders read books about leaders whom they admire. The books provide important insights into what it takes to be a leader and how to make decisions.
Find a Mentor
Learning from an accomplished leader is a great way to improve your own leadership abilities; find someone in your organization or community whose leadership you admire and ask this person to serve as your mentor; they will probably be flattered and happy to help.
It is important to research management and leadership trends and to learn skills and techniques that are relevant to the particular field in which you are working so that you can then implement them.