Life revolves around various sets of relationships, especially for women.
We might be a mother, a teacher, a wife, a daughter, a sister, an employee; each perspective can change the way we look at life and the world around us, forsaking our narrow and limited field of vision. Each of these roles can inspire us and motivate us, provide us with a sense of confidence and help us to push ourselves to achieve more.
These roles develop a sense of vision and provide factors of commitment and dedication to be able to achieve the vision. These are the factors that move us towards being a leader, which might be in any field. The sense of developing a vision, a direction and gaining the strength to reach our goals makes us a good leader.
No doubt we might have leaders who might be effective and inspirational, or CEO’s who can direct a large number of people, or even politicians who can gain the support of the ‘janta,’ but the question is, do they really provide the vision of life itself?
A leader must give the people around her, lives of meaning and not dictate. She must show how each person’s action is an essential part of the whole.
Just giving instructions that might turn out to be productive does not imbibe the characteristics of being a good leader. She has to be able to inspire her fellow peers to be productive and efficient and change the world in a manner that is not manipulative but meaningful. Being a leader, we will be able to identify a problem in our field and work towards tackling it with determination instead of avoiding it.
Leaders do not work towards building a better candle but work towards elucidating the darkness. Whether the goal of the individual is to increase sales or to double productivity or change the marketing strategies, the leader must have a clear goal in mind. She has to think out of the box to be able to solve problems that others might not be able to even identify. This can only happen with a never ending process of education, training, experience and self study. A leader cannot get up one day and feel that she has studied or learnt enough. You learn more every day; you cannot rest on your accolades. You learn to be a better leader every day, better than the day before.
One might feel that with a male dominated society, women have a lower chance of being able to develop as a leader and have to fight harder against the status quoi. However, this factor only makes for a better woman leader by making them more focussed and determined. There are many qualities of a true leader that women might be better at. Women leaders have a greater power to induce action or belief, are more assertive and are willing to take greater risks than male leaders. Women have a potent need to get things done and are much more empathetic and flexible as well as have a strong sense of interpersonal skills. A leader must also be able to pull together a group of people who may be very different and get them to collectively work and achieve results that can be uncommon to them.
Leadership Vs. Management
By now we must have come to understand who exactly a leader is. While understanding that leadership is of immense importance in management, and that they both have a lot in common, such as working with people in an organization towards a goal, they do tend to differ in their main functions. Management looks at producing order and consistency through various processes in an organization that may include planning, organizing, staffing, budgeting and problem solving. On the other hand, leadership focuses on producing movement and change through processes that include providing direction through a vision and motivating and inspiring individuals. While leadership focuses more on dealing with interpersonal relations that can involve being a teacher or a manager, they look at the spirit to win and serve those working in the organization. In contrast, management focuses more on the conceptual side of the business. It only does the leg work to make visions possible. It looks at the distribution of resources in a firm.
What Kind of Leader Are You?
Having got a grasp of the basic qualities needed for you to become a leader, the question now is-what kind of a leader would you really want to be?
- Autocratic leader: involves exerting a high amount of power over your employees or team members, giving them only a few opportunities for making proposes. However this form also might reduce creativity even though decisions and work can be done quickly.
- Bureaucratic leader: ensure that employees follow procedures exactly leading to a certain amount of inflexibility in the organization.
- Charismatic leader: is very enthusiastic and energetic with their employees or team members and works towards long term commitment.
- Democratic leader: takes the final decision but does look at advice from members to take a particular decision. This leads to job satisfaction as well as development of people’s skills.
- Laissez faire leader: this means that the members are ‘left to get on with their work.’ If monitoring takes place by the leader, then communication in the organization will be healthy and lead to achieving goals.
- People oriented leader: here, the leader is focused on supporting and developing her employees or team members.
- Servant leader: these leaders achieve power on the basis of their values and ideals and are not formally recognized as a leader.
- Task oriented leader: focus only on the job being achieved. The aspects of the well being and motivation of employees are not emphasized.
- Transactional leader: here the focus is more on short term tasks where the members agree to follow their leader when they take on a specific task.
- Transformation leader: a true leader who looks at a vision along with the members by focussing a great deal on communication.
At the end of the day, there is no one right way to be a leader. One must be able to be a specific leader in accordance to the demands of the situation. Being able to choose the right one by switching styles according to people and work, is in itself being able to be an impeccable leader!
I believe every woman reading this article is a leader in your own right. I challenge you to recognize and acknowledge both your strengths and your weaknesses. Be the leader you were born to be and effect positive change in your family, community and the world at large.