Leading, by example
Having looked at developing and growing consciously active people, Jannie Koegelenberg delves into the topic of leadership.
People are often referred to as “born leaders”. But are leaders born or developed? Current thinking suggests that good leaders are undoubtedly developed. Individuals, who have the desire and willpower to become good leaders, can achieve this status through self study, education, training and life experiences.
Leadership is a process whereby an individual influences other individuals or groups in achieving a common goal. Alternatively, through interaction, leaders create followers.
Beliefs, values, ethics and character influence leadership – all of which were instilled in us from a young age and are constantly being updated throughout our lives.
Leader: As a leader you should have an honest understanding of yourself and your ability. A good leader realises that followers actually determine success, not management or yourself.
Followers: Various styles of leadership are needed to suit different people, and leaders must understand human needs. It is important to know the “Be, Know, Do” attributes of your employees (more on that later).
Communication: Communication can either harm or build relationships and considering all the excellent efforts undertaken to create valuable, consciously active employees – good focused communication should be practised at all times. Be prepared to set the example. If you are not prepared to do it yourself, do not expect others to do it.
Situation: Analyse a situation before reacting; different situations demand different leadership styles. In a situation where confrontation is necessary, timing will be critical and the level of confrontation will need to be carefully considered.
The Process Leadership theory, whereby leadership skills are imparted through training, observation and experience, is the most widely accepted leadership theory today. Process leaders work to change the framework – which takes skill and knowledge – and strive to learn and grow. In order to be seen as a total leader who creates followers, one has to have respect, be ethical, have a clear sense of direction and be able to convey a strong vision of the future. In other words, “Be, Know, Do”. This forms the basis of good and honourable leaders:
Be = what the leader is (beliefs and character)
Know = what the leader knows (the job, tasks, human nature)
Do = what the leader does (implementation, motivation, direction)
A study by the Hay Group found that trust and confidence in top leadership is the single most reliable predictor of employee satisfaction, which leads to a positive customer experience and, in turn, has a direct correlation to profitability.
The study also identified three key areas in which effective communication can win organisational trust and confidence. It is essential that communication: helps employees understand the overall business strategy, helps them to understand how they contribute to achieving the overall business strategy, and provides information about company performance as well as divisional performance. In a nutshell, be trustworthy and communicate the vision of where the business needs to go.
Jannie Koegelenberg is passionate about promoting positive customer experiences in the motor industry. He has a 38-year track record in the industry, having worked at Mercedes-Benz distributor United Cars and Diesel Distributors, Ford Motor Company and Toyota SA Marketing, before becoming dealer principal of MAN Nelspruit.