Leadership, as you define it in your recent news coverage, (Personnel Today, 23 August) is a misleading term, as it can manifest itself at every level of an organisation. Whether employed as a managing director or a cleaner, individuals displaying strong leadership characteristics will exemplify good practice throughout their careers and exert far greater influence over others.
All leaders have the ability to manage, but only a small proportion of managers have the necessary skills to become strong leaders. This is stifling business growth.
The role of a manager is to maintain the status quo, to ensure that things happen according to plan and to maintain consistency throughout operations. By contrast, a leader is judged on their ability to drive and effect change. Inevitably, a leader will have been a manager at some stage in their development, but the issue for many employers is that the individuals leading their organisation are still managers in all but name.
Effective leadership requires a balance across three core skills: knowing yourself, leading and influencing others, and maintaining a results-driven focus to bridge the gap between maintaining the status quo and driving change. It is only by encouraging these traits in employees at every level of the organisation that businesses can hope to develop the leaders of the future.