In our definition of leadership, three things converge: Vision, inspiration, and empowerment.
I have covered each of those in previous posts. This post is about their coming together. I have been absorbed recently in the writings of Gary Yukl. His work on flexible leadership affirms what I have believed about leadership for years. Effective, sustainable leadership is far more than a singular characteristic based on individual style. It requires more than a unidimensional approach (i.e., some leaders inspire, some are good forecasters, some are charismatic, some are great engineers or managers). Leaders must work to hone ALL of those skills. They will do so with varying degrees of success, to be sure. But they must work on what Yukl terms leadership ambidexterity.
I am not saying leaders can perfect every positive leadership competency. I am not saying they should be someone they are not. I am not saying they should not leverage certain innate strengths and surround themselves with people who can help fill their gaps. I am saying leaders should strive for proficiency in multiple dimensions of leadership. Leaders must simultaneously monitor systems and processes, nurture human relationships, cast vision, and navigate political waters. This is why leadership is hard.
Back to our convergence — Leaders create an environment where people not only see the vision, they believe in it. They are inspired by it. They are inspired to bring their individual contribution to the table to help achieve it. They identify with it. But they must also feel trusted enough to add their unique ingredients to the mix. Vision, inspiration, and empowerment. To achieve this convergence, leaders must seize their window of opportunity to lead by casting a compelling vision of a path forward and enlisting the respected talents of the team. This includes showing the appropriate levels of appreciation for those contributions, and continuing to believe in their team, and entrust them with more.
That’s The Jinks Perspective. What do you think?