LEADERSHIP IN 2019 – TRUTH OR TRENDS?
The rise of small businesses and global adjustments in the corporate business and work space in more recent years have highlighted and reinforced some truths. The acceleration of change in working conditions, political climates and human behaviour have contributed to the highlights of certain trends in the leadership styles we see. What sort of leadership has its roots deep and has stood the test of time till date? What is simply a fad or a trend; arising for a brief period to satisfy a particular climate?
The truth is a non-relative subject or entity, characterized by an endearing set of values. It is more like a pillar or foundation that cannot be easily influenced or subjected to change by people’s opinions. A trend, on the other hand, is a temporary belief that is influenced by the majority of people’s opinions. Leadership, as it stands, is not an easy personality and position to take on. Its significance in both work and business spaces cannot be underestimated. The right leadership has always proven to be a big contributing factor to the success of many corporations but the wrong ones have left empires in shambles and thousands of individuals unemployed. The difficulty in adapting to our fast-evolving work and business space is not merely keeping up with the trends but embracing and adopting the right trend. The purpose of this article is not to say that we need to overlook new trends but to highlight key habits, principles and skills that have worked in all seasons and business climates; and to have the awareness to take up trends that will support the needs of our business.
Back in time, the autocratic style of leadership was a more common and traditional style of leadership. Employees were subjected to the monotony of hearing only one person’s opinion, which was their leader or management group. Decisions were made based on the opinions of a handful of people and members at the grassroots may not have mattered at all. In the 21st century, the autocratic style of leadership is quickly fading with the encouragement of more collaborative team efforts on projects. In the space of entrepreneurship and with young adults speaking up and being more creative, the ‘one man leads all’ mentality is not working.
Democratic/participative leadership may have been a trend but after so many years, it is safe to say now that it is a truth every aspiring and existing leader must add to his or her portfolio of skills and qualities. The need for innovation, a bigger driving force and collective passion begs for a two-way street communication style. Effective communication has been shown to account for astounding clarity, responsiveness and consistency in the workplace. The credibility of a leader is also essential in our modernized space of business and world of corporate work. A trusted leader is listened to more easily than one who simply metes outs instructions without seeking to include his peers or employees in the decision-making process.
When social media was initially introduced to our community, there was a lot of unrest about its use and benefits. There is still the confusion on whether businesses should stick to the brick and mortar structure or have a greater percentage of the business online. The truth is the internet and online structures such as websites and social media have managed to scale up the presence of businesses and effectively communicate the brand and business when properly executed. It is no longer a place for only entertainment purposes. As a leader, you represent your brand. In fact, you are the brand and should live it every day. Given the numbers, easier accessibility and reach social media provides, every leader must strive to align their online presence with the identity of their brand. You must look the part both in person and online. Your online presence serves as the touch point: it may be the first point of communication a consumer or client has with your brand. Hence, it must be taken seriously and managed as a truth and not a trend.
Although psychology has shown that punitive measures are effective in stopping undesirable behaviour, the approach in our modern space is slowly becoming ineffective. Research from Psychology Today has shown that followers/employees lose respect and admiration for leaders who apply this method and eventually drives employees away. All research has shown that reinforcing a more desirable behaviour in place of one that is not, is a more effective strategy. This approach requires the use of persuasion. The art of persuasion demands that a leader understands his employees or followers, their needs, wants, likes, dislikes, goals and such in order to redirect them to commit to a more desirable work or social habit.
In the 20th century, having employees highly skilled in one area of expertise was and still is very useful. However, having multi-disciplinary employees and individuals who can easily adapt to our evolving business climate is no longer a trend but a much-needed addition to every team. The cross-functionality factor is not only limited to team members but also to solutions. As the SHRM Blog puts it, leaders must, therefore, learn to orchestrate highly collaborative and broad-based approaches to driving solutions.
They will be called upon to reach out well beyond the traditional boundaries of their own organizations and functional disciplines to deliver an integrated set of solutions and to engineer answers to complex organizational issues.
Going into 2019, what are the soft skills and principles to latch onto to effectively lead your team to success throughout the entire year?
1. Be present
Often, leaders sail through the days without being fully present where they are needed. The fact that you show up in person is not the same as being present in mind and soul. When you are aware of what is going on inside of you and around you, you will be able to notice challenges that need to be addressed before they get out of hand, or pick up the dissatisfaction of your clients and perhaps the emotional exhaustion of your employees. Do not simply show up at the office or make that business presentation without taking some time to be conscious of your environment. Remember that leadership is not simply a position but also a personality that needs time, nourishment and self-awareness to operate at its fullest.
- The skill of relationship-building and people management
Your communication as a leader is with humans and if you are looking to build a lasting business, you need to first build lasting relationships. The heart of a thriving relationship is effective conversation, respect and clarity. These three things are at the core of proper functioning partnerships and functioning teams. Even with the best products and business practices, you still need strong relationships to succeed. As leaders, one of our basic responsibilities is to manage people. We need to understand that humans are first emotional beings before logical beings. The soft skill of emotional intelligence plays an important role in the management of people. It requires that you understand and are able to manage your own emotions first. By doing this, you develop your sense of communication, adaptability, empathy and analytical mind to address people and problems from a holistic perspective rather than a logical one or a purely emotional one.
- Endearing Conversations
In the day-to-day leadership environment, communication and conversation is very crucial. By paying attention to interpersonal interactions and communicating clear intentions, objectives and information, leaders can have meaningful conversations with employees and clients. Endearing conversation is a cornerstone for building strong relationships and creating powerful connections. Remember that communication goes beyond what we say. A larger percentage of our communication is in our body language. How you show up physically contributes to how your verbal communication will be taken.
- Understanding the technological ecosystem
What is today may longer be especially with the unprecedented way technology is evolving. In order not to be left behind, a part of your duty as a leader in 2019 is to pay attention, research and understand the uprise of technological advancements and leverage its use for the success and transformation of your business. It is pertinent that you maintain the authenticity of your brand, business and corporate responsibility whilst at this. You must find the balance of integration and not simply doing away with one thing and picking up another. That is called jumping on to the next best thing and such trends may not have the ability to stand the test of time.
In 2019, stick to your truth. Your ability as a leader to be aware and identify transformational business and work habits and skills for your yourself, team and clientele will be crucial in determining how much progress you make in the coming year.
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Dzigbordi K. Dosoo: The H.E.L.P. Coach
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo is a Personal Impact, Professional Growth and Influence Expert specializing in Humanness, Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Power – H.E.L.P.
A career spanning over two decades, she has established herself as a Certified High Performance Coach, Speaker, Author, Wellness Expert and award-winning Entrepreneur with a clientele ranging from C-Suite Executives, Senior Management, Practitioners and Sales Leaders spanning 3 continents.
She is the Founder of Dzigbordi K. Dosoo (DKD) Holdings; a premier lifestyle business group with brand subsidiaries that include Dzigbordi Consulting Group& Allure Africa.
She is one of the most decorated female entrepreneurs in Ghana having being named “CIMG Marketing Woman of the Year” in 2009; “Top 10 most respected CEOs in Ghana, 2012; Global Heart of Leadership Award and, Women Rising “100 Most Influential Ghanaian Women”, 2017. She has also been featured on CNN.
She can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org and @dzigbordi across all social media platforms.