Consider for a moment, what qualities should modern leaders possess.
Are we leaders merely by virtue of the fact that we manage a particular department inside the company or that others report to us? Are we only considered to be leaders because others are required to follow our direction? How can we claim to be leaders if the only reason we are leading is because the organizational chart states that we should.
After much thought, I suggest that a leader in today’s world is someone who not only brings the best out in themselves but is able to encourage others to achieve more, and to create a genuine desire within others to want to help accomplish a common goal. The key word being want, if the person does not embrace the vision it is likely they will resist doing whatever it takes to accomplish the goal. A leader today must not be afraid to follower another leader tomorrow. At times our job descriptions allude to the fact that leadership is required for the position, but a job title does not grant leadership. What makes a great leader is someone who embraces who they are leading and the goal that they or the company is striving to achieve. The ability to come together and strive to accomplish a common goal, while connecting with individuals, and making them want to help you accomplish the common goal. Our capacity to connect with others in a way that inspires them to support us is what distinguishes leaders from followers.
I once got an email from a new coworker, who needed information I had in order to complete a project he was working on. Rather than just requesting the information, he took the time to take a quick look at my company profile and learn about me. He started the email off with a personal note, where I knew he had read my company profile. This added time demonstrated that he, at his own will, made an effort to connect, despite us never meeting or interacting prior to this email. He could have simply asked for the information he needed and moved on. But this being our first interaction and wanting to put his best foot forward. He took that small amount of time, a genuine interest in connecting. It would be an understatement to say that his email resonated with me, so far in fact that I find myself giving his emails priority or replying when I have other items that came in a head of his requests. Why? Because of his efforts in being genuine with me, not a forced connection, but rather someone who is working together to accomplish a common goal.
Today, leadership is seldom as straightforward as “simply do this or don’t do that.” It’s all about connecting with others. You have to truly think about who the other person is, and what do they value. It’s about spending the time to make an effort to comprehend another person’s environment so that you may then interact with it more fully. This can involve truly asking about someone else’s family on occasion, or it can involve getting right down to business, so as not waste time when you know someone dislikes social chit-chat.
What we are seeing in business is that when, colleges are conducting business, their potential for connection and relationship building is more important than many other elements. There is ample evidence to support the idea that individuals like to work and deal with people they get along with, and that they will occasionally choose a person or business that they like over one that may genuinely possess greater credentials or a better product. Let that sink it and ask yourself, how likeable am I or how likeable is my business?