013 Are you a leader?

What’s in a leader?

The grandfather of leadership thinking in Germany – Fredmund Malik – used to say that leadership is about transferring resources into results. In this episode, I’m going to be discussing what it means to be a leader and how to become one. So whether you are an aspiring leader, or are already in a leadership role but want to improve your skills, this is for you!

Leadership basics

Imagine you are with a group of friends out in the wilderness and you have to get from A to B. What’s the first thing that needs to happen? Every group needs a leader, and someone will assume the role whether by nomination or by actively taking charge. In either case, one can only become a leader if the others in the group believe in your capabilities enough to entrust you with the role. The group must actively choose to follow their leader; a leader cannot force others to follow.

Unnavigated waters

Now, applying this scenario to the corporate world – you can only successfully lead people if they follow you. People choose to follow others because of their ideas and personality. When leading an organisation, you will have to at times face navigating it through unknown circumstances to you. Imagine what was going on the minds of Nokia employees when they were faced with the first Apple iPhone? They had no clue how to react. And what happens when you find your competitors offering their service at cheaper rates than you? As a leader, you will need to orientate your company through troubled waters.

Let’s think about the pyramids for a second. The architectural achievement would not have been possible if not for the considerable organisation that went into their building. Separating workers into various professions based on skill set, three organisational layers enabled their construction. Employees who worked the job, such as those cutting and carrying the stones. Managers to work on the job, managing the people. And leaders to work on the organisation, setting the vision.

What’s in a day?

Back in the corporate world, the average person who is supposed to be leading sometimes finds themselves managing. Do you know what you are doing with your day? Whether you are managing or leading? Do you know what you achieve each day? If you want to become a leader or a better leader, these are the things you need to know, to make the changes that you need. Start keeping a record and look back on it at the end of the week over the period of a few months. This can help you identify how much of your day you are dedicating to leading – you may find that you are not doing nearly as much of it as you ought to.

If however you’re not a leader yet but want to be, I have a little secret for you. All it takes for you to become a leader is to decide that you are going to lead. Everyone has opportunities in their role to take the initiative within their corporation. It’s not until you step up to the plate that people will start recognising you for your leadership skills.

Listen on to the full episode for my full thoughts on the subject!



Olaf Kapinski