Leadership is a matter of great complexity, with room for many different types of leadership style.
In the past, authority and responsibility were the two crucial elements defining a leader. It was simple: a great leader had the presence to direct people and make decisions.
In the 21st century, leadership styles are changing.
Author and speaker Simon Sinek, believes that professional competence and presence are not enough. Good leaders inspire trust and must truly care about those around them.
He identifies four simple means of inspiring others and finding our own leadership capabilities.
Great leadership is about looking out for those to your left and right, above and below you - creating a circle of trust. ‘We’re not good at everything,’ says Sinek. ‘We’re not good by ourselves. Our ability to build trust and relationships is the key to our survival.’ Building relationships and trust generates an environment where people share values, and work cohesively for one cause.
Managers become leaders when they are encouraged to learn, and leadership is a quality that can be taught. But look beyond training and certification programs, says Sinek. Universal online access to the best of contemporary thinking, gives us access to more innovative solutions that can translate to any workplace.
3. THINK ABOUT WHY
Sinek believes that very few people know why they do what they do. Most leaders know what they do and how they do it; but few really understand why they do it, and what really inspires them. Those who have a strong grasp of all three - what, how and why - are the ones who outperform the others.
Relationships are built through conversation – and that means getting rid of devices when we’re talking to coworkers. Great leaders take the device out of the equation at crucial times. Holding a phone or even having it alongside you during a meeting sends a message to those in the room that they do not have your full attention.
Create an environment where a meaningful exchange can take place. Put your device in a pocket or a drawer. This sends a strong behavioural message which says you are listening and completely engaged.
In a changing world, it’s not so surprising that our leadership styles are evolving. Great leaders recognise that the concept no longer revolves around a lone figure of authority or a hierarchy.
Instead it’s an integrated team of individuals, brought together by a very human instinct - the urge to build relationships and trust. And that oldest of leadership qualities – the capacity to care.