Developing effective leadership

“Let's start by defining what leadership is. A good leader is a person who knows how to influence others in order to...”

Leadership does not necessarily induce a positive influence; "Leadership" by Jeffrey Pfeffer/contact,Professor at Stanford, is an edifying book on the subject.

Jeffrey explains that the leaders of the companies he is in contact with are rarely all honest, caring, genuine, etc. According to him, in "real life", there are no a priori positive connotations to leadership.

To extrapolate on his point, one can easily imagine that cartel leaders and other prison court kingpins all have leadership, otherwise they would not have managed to position themselves as a leader.

On the other hand, it is worth remembering that someone who is in a position of authority does not necessarily have leadership . Thus, the commitment of employees is mainly linked to the quality of their relationship with their direct manager.

However, all employee satisfaction surveys tend to show that only about a quarter of employees are engaged in their work (while most were probably highly motivated when they started their jobs).

We can therefore conclude that three-quarters of managers have counterproductive leadership, that is to say that their influence leads to lower productivity of their employees (not to mention the damage on their well-being of the latter).

Finally, you don't have to be in a position of authority to be a good, or even an excellent leader. Ghandi and Mandela are probably among the greatest leaders of the last century. However, they both managed to initiate considerable upheavals (end of apartheid and decolonization of India) at times when they were not in a position of authority.

Once this is agreed on, we will be able to clarify the purpose of this article; here, we are looking to define ways to develop your leadership in order to achieve positive things while demonstrating a caring attitude to the people who follow you.

Let's call it positive leadership. The positive leader is someone who manages to accomplish exceptional things by catalyzing the energy of a group of people, while ensuring that all parties involved in this initiative are positively impacted.

The development of this type of leadership can be done on several levels:

  • A greater introspection of oneself mixed with intense personal development work. Indeed, a positive leader must know how to adapt to the contexts and people with whom he is in contact . By way of illustration, it is proven that managers have a bias that leads them to treat the employees who look like them ("in-group") better than those who don’t ("out-group"). Overcoming this bias requires having enough self-awareness to identify this mechanism in action and make a conscious effort to overcome it.

  • Extensive research by Theresa Amabil and Steven Kramer (Harvard professors) has shown that employees are particularly motivated and productive when they feel they are progressing through tasks that make sense to them. An effective leader will therefore know how to (re)connect the stakeholders of his project to a meaning . He will therefore not only develop an engaging vision and communicate it effectively, but above all ensure that everyone is given the opportunity to progress and therefore be attentive and able to find solutions to the obstacles that each may encounter.

  • Moreover, it appears that the negative emotions caused by a bad encounter are much more intensely felt than the positive emotions from a nice interaction. Thus, a gesture of impatience from the leader can be excessively badly experienced, despite this same leader being an otherwise considerate person. A good leader will therefore have a very fine emotional intelligence , being able to both identify the emotional states of the people involved and take the necessary actions to create a climate favorable to collaboration.

From what has been mentioned above, we can therefore conclude that to develop your leadership, you can work on the following :

  • Using deep introspection tools, such as 360° surveys, interpersonal feedback, personality tests, etc.

  • Honing your ability to create meaning in collective projects. In particular, a leader will know how to develop a vision, language rich in visuals and be concise.

  • Empathy and adaptability to each other's preferences

  • Positive mindset and communication, even in times of stress. This requires a healthy lifestyle (diet, rest, physical activity, etc.).

How to start developing your leadership ? It's quite simple: identify a goal that is important to you and focus on it. Mine right now is to stay positive and light-hearted even in times when things can seem complicated.

The good news is that many tools exist to help you achieve the goal you have set for yourself: personality tests, 360°, individual coaching, training, etc. Do not hesitate to contact us to talk about it in more depth.

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