So much is being written these days about what a true leader is and isn’t. How they operate and how they interact with their teams and colleagues. The focus is now on human leadership, moving people from the system constructed management of days gone by. A large part of my LinkedIn feed is articles and memes about this and bookshop shelves are full of leadership manuals. Leadership seems to be the generic topic people wish to be seen as experts on, almost leaders in the leadership space.
I’m not knocking the current thoughts and opinions, we all want strong leadership in our organisations, from governance through to the ‘coal face’. Forgetting about business for a minute, the world would be a better place if more leaders took on-board some of this advice.
The thing that strikes me is how limited a lot of this information is. It focuses on leading teams and organisations. To me, this inwards focus doesn’t show people the full potential of effective leadership.
As a true leader, you need to see your role wider than just how well your organisation operates. Your organisation, if full of leaders, should itself become a leader in its own right.
I’m not talking about leading the competition, market leaders, the leading supplier of…, I’m talking about how your organisation can show true leadership, guiding and encouraging others on the journeys that are important to you.
An easy example of what I mean is the Chamber itself. Tania and the Executive must show leadership within the organisation – but they must also show leadership in the local business community. For them, there is literally no point effectively leading their own organisation unless they are also successful in leading business prosperity in Cambridge. Their leadership skills directly benefit us.
If we look past the aspect of direct competition, we all benefit when we have strong, successful businesses (and organisations). None of us operate alone; we’re all part of this big eco-system broadly called the economy. The more successful our customers are, the more we can sell. We need our suppliers to be successful to maintain continuity of supply. Our neighbouring businesses may employ our children or solve one of our problems.
You can show leadership by talking to peer organisations, your customers and your suppliers; engaging with the people within those organisations, hearing their stories and seeing where you can journey together on more than just business matters.
Leadership involves helping others to achieve their goals, it’s about finding common passions and it’s about shared visions. This is all done between people but there is no law to say those people have to be part of the same organisation.
In business, as in life, it’s about growing the pie not just growing your piece of that pie. True leaders look for success for everyone by working together, sharing their dreams and by recognising true leadership is more than leading a single team.
It’s more than just business.
If you care about the environment, you can lead your team to manage your own recycling or you could empower them to also help guide other businesses to share your environmental passion.
If you believe businesses can help support healthy, robust communities then your whole organisation should be leading the way. Share the story and show others how you support your community, talk about the benefits and explore how you can assist them on their own journeys.
Leadership is about shared strength and if we want to live in a great world, we all need to take the responsibility for strengthen those around us. If you think you have great leadership skills, then prove it! Show the world how you can lead more than one team or one organisation. Share those skills and build those skills in others. Be proactive in your sector and your community.
True leaders are conduits for change.