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Business Strategy What Makes a Leader Worth Following?

“Management is doing things right. Leadership is doing the right things.” – Peter Drucker

I think we’ve all experienced bad leadership at some point in our lives, but I would rather talk about what makes a great leader… because frankly I’d like to see more of them in this world.

Leadership, emotional intelligence and social intelligence go hand-in-hand. By definition emotional intelligence is:

  • the ability to communicate with others at an emotional level
  • to use emotions to help guide decision making
  • to be able to regulate emotions and,
  • possessing knowledge about emotions and the emotional process.

Social intelligence is defined as the ability to be able to understand social situations, to play social roles and to influence others. It involves being able to see others’ perspectives and understanding the complex and abstract social norms or “rules” that govern different types of social situations. Social intelligence is often also simply referred to as “street smarts.”

Leaders typically are in highly communicative roles. To be effective I believe you need to have high emotional and social intelligence. You also need to have the ability to earn respect from the people that you lead. Just because you are given a title does not earn you respect.

You need to have humility. You will make mistakes so learn to embrace them and learn from them!

Set your ego aside because you will need to be able to admit when you’re wrong and ask what could have been done differently. Provide service and support to those you’re leading, don’t brush them aside or become frustrated; they are only looking for leadership. In turn, show gratitude for those you are leading.

“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is the servant.” –Max DePree

Different types of leaders:

  1. Autocratic: Keeps strict, close control over followers by keeping close regulation over policies and procedures, for example, when a police officer directs traffic.
  2. Paternalistic: When a leader acts in ways that mimic a parental figure. The leader supplies complete concern for their followers. In return they receive complete trust and loyalty. They tend to encourage organization because they allow workers to stay on top of their own work.
  3. Democratic: Consists of the leader sharing the decision-making abilities with group members by promoting the interests of group members and practicing social equality.
  4. Laissez-Faire: When all rights and power to make decisions is fully given to the worker. The leader delegates tasks to their followers while providing little to no direction.
  5. Transactional: Motivating followers through a system of reward or punishments. Focus on increasing the efficiency of established routines and procedures.
  6. Transformational: To change or transform followers with a sense of purpose and excitement. They also create a vision of what they aspire to be, and communicates this idea to others.

As a leader you have a great responsibility for another person’s time, efforts, hopes, ambitions, thoughts and inspirations and, even at times, their own self-worth. Your main role is engagement; you must create energy, enthusiasm and commitment. Productivity and profitability happens when a company promotes physical, emotional and social well-being.

“The supreme quality of leadership is integrity.” – Dwight Eisenhower

What kind of leader are you?