Leaders can be different. However, they have a common ground. They did not start with the question: “What is what I want?” They started by asking: “What is necessary to do?” Later on, they were wondering: what can I do to change the situation? This is about something what simultaneously is necessary to do, and corresponds to the forces of the leader and to the way in which he is more effective.
Before knowing, how we can be better leaders, we have to ask, in fact, if we really are leaders. Do we give example with our work? Can we delegate and trust in the team of professionals with whom we work? These and other skills are indispensable to be, not only respected, but valued.
Common elements in the theories of Case, Kouzes and Drucker
There are men with enormous aptitude to anticipate the future. Steve Case is one of them. He created an Internet company, which then would be called America Online (AOL): somewhere near 1985. Then, he managed to defeat the very same Bill Gates in the war for the Internet access.
Steve Case: People, passion, perseverance: Steve Case mentions the three P’s as assessment tools to help guide his directions and goals: People, passion and perseverance. Steve Case means “People” in the meaning of working with people who is focused on innovation. Not focused on another issues.
When Case talks about passion, he talks in the sense of the passion in his creative team. This passion takes him to achieve great goals like the merge with Time Warner and become the most successful company. When this group of people became corporate, that was the beginning of the end.
Case also talks about perseverance. As any other company, AOL had tough times, lots of ups and downs, trying to figure out how to stay in the game. After 8 years, AOL became a successful company. They were resilient.
James Kouzes: Rising to the leadership challenge: Mr. Kouzes devise 5 exemplary practices for anybody who wants to be a leader:
– Model the way: Setting an example based upon a clear set of values.
– Inspired a shared vision: Being forward looking and envisioning an uplifting future.
– Challenge the process: Searching for opportunities to grow, to experiment, to take risks.
– Enable others to act: Fostering collaboration and strengthening individual capabilities.
– Encourage the heart: Celebrating the values and the victories. Recognizing individuals.
Peter Drucker: Entrepreneurial Strategies: Peter Ferdinand Drucker was a lawyer and Austrian author of multiple works recognized worldwide on topics regarding the management of the organizations, systems of information and society of the knowledge, area of which is recognized as father and mentor with Fritz Machlup.
Drucker was admired for his great intelligence and tireless activity. Today, he is considered widely as the father of the management as discipline. Nowadays, he still is an object of study in the most prestigious business schools. The following are some Drucker’s ideas about leadership:
– What needs to be done: Leaders don’t tackle things they are not good at. They make sure other necessities get done, but not by them. Successful leaders make sure that they succeed. They are not afraid of strength in others.
– Check your performance: Effective leaders check their performance. They write down, “What do I hope to achieve if I take on this assignment?” They put away their goals for six months and then come back and check their performance against goals. This way, they find out what they do well and what they do poorly.
– Mission driven: Leaders communicate in the sense that people around them know what they are trying to do. They are purpose driven–yes, mission driven. They know how to establish a mission. And another thing, they know how to say no. The pressure on leaders to do 984 different things is unbearable, so the effective ones learn how to say no and stick with it.
– Creative abandonment: A critical question for leaders is, “When do you stop pouring resources into things that have achieved their purpose?” The most dangerous traps for a leader are those near-successes where everybody says that if you just give it another big push it will go over the top.
Based on my personality, I would like to be a transformational leader, a leader who motivates the team to be effective and efficient. In this effort, I would consider communication as the base for our goal achievement, focusing the group on the final desired outcome or goal attainment.
On a management position, I would try to be focused on the big picture, on the long term run. And I would like to be surrounded by people who take care of the details. Based on the transformational theory, I would be a leader who is always looking for ideas that move the organization to reach the company’s vision.
Also, I would try to be a charismatic leader. However, charisma implies some other risks if you miss the way. Some of the most charismatic leaders of the last century were called Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Mussolini. They were mis-leaders. Charismatic leadership by itself certainly is greatly overstated.
Use of resources and tools
The Small Business Association provides valuable information about the process to start a business, get a loan, get a grant, getting a license, getting a Tax ID, etc. The SBA website provides information about how can we get a Government contract, tips about how can we survive a slow economy, how to start a Business Plan, etc.
The SBA does not make loans directly to small businesses but does help to educate and prepare the business owner to apply for a loan through a financial institution or bank. The SBA then acts as a guarantor on the bank loan.
In some circumstances it also helps to procure loans to victims of natural disasters, works to get government procurement contracts for small businesses, and assists businesses with management, technical and training issues.
SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business” is a nonprofit association dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and helping small business start, grow and succeed nationwide. SCORE is a resource partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
SCORE provides free online and face-to-face business counseling, mentoring, training, business, and advice for small businesses just starting out or hoping to be successful.
This website provides information about how can we start a business, keep it growing, how to get financial aid, management counseling, etc. SCORE also shows very important information about advertisement, technology, how to handle employee benefits and how can we be prepared for any disaster.
Personal principles of leadership
We understand for leadership, as the process of influencing others and of supporting them. In that way, they will be employed enthusiastically at the achievement of common goals.
Few people are natural leaders, that is, they do not have to struggle to be. The immense majority must develop their abilities and skills of leadership, promoting also his personal charisma. Here are some principles I think can improve our role as leaders:
Be a role model: Preaching with the example has always been one of most effective ways of leading a group or an organization. We will not be good leaders if our employees perceive that we do not strain, we work less than others or that we make the most of any opportunity to assign ungrateful tasks that very well we might solve.
Enthusiasm: The leader has to believe in a common project, and must transmit his passion and enthusiasm to the rest of the group. An apathetic leader is not the best image that a company can transmit. The charisma and the action are two essential qualities of every entrepreneur who aspires to be a good leader.
Organization: I have read somewhere that a messy leader is like a dog chasing his tail. This means that we will transmit our way of working to the group. If we are disorganized, our group will be chaotic; if we do all the possible from supporting the order, the group will strain to the maximum so that there are no unforeseen events.
To delegate: I know sometimes to be able to delegate is not as simple as seems, and it needs time to find this person in whom we can trust. But if we believe that we can make everything alone, we are very wrong. And not only we will be mistaken, but sometimes, we will be playing with our health, physical or mental.
– Karlgaard Rich. (2004) Peter Drucker on Leadership. Forbes magazine. Retrieved October 17, 2010 from http://www.forbes.com/2004/11/19/cz_rk_1119drucker.html