A simple definition of leadership is the action of leading a group of people. This doesn’t sound complicated, yet anything that involves multiple people is never as simple as it might look. There are a variety of factors that surround what makes a person a good leader. Establishing a clear vision, communicating that vision to others so they want to follow it, providing the method to realize that vision, and managing any conflicting interests that arise are all part of leadership.
A Clear Vision
“The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.” – Theodore M. Hesburgh
Creating a clear vision is essential for any project in any company at any time. Without a clear final destination, team members will be unsure of their goal and clients may not be confident in the team’s ability to deliver quality content. A focused end target, clearly defined at the beginning, alleviates any confusion or frustration and will help inspire and energize the team to reach the goal.
Communicating the Vision
Having a clear vision and being able to communicate it effectively to your team are two different components to great leadership. Communication is extremely important in all aspects of life, especially when it comes to understanding a client’s needs and then relaying those needs to others. To ensure the goal is fully understood by the team, use everything you can, including words and any visual aids that can help illustrate the vision. Ask the team questions to ensure they fully understand what is needed.
Realize the Vision
How is the team going to achieve this goal? While good leaders don’t micromanage their teams, they do provide a basic plan for reaching the target. A good leader is aware of the skills and limitations of their team, and a well thought out plan will take this into consideration. Flexibility is also required as there are always unknown issues that can arise. A good leader is able to take these in stride and make decisions to keep the project on task.
Conflicts can be anything from human resources issues to a technical aspect of a project to a client changing their mind about a design. It can be difficult to prepare for all the potential issues as there is never a way to know them all ahead of time. When conflicts do arise, remember to ask questions. During a conflict, the leader takes the role of mediator which needs a different approach. Questions are effective as they preserve the leader’s neutrality and gets others to pause, reflect, and get clear about the problem. This often leads to a conversation helping those involved to come to a resolution.
While the definition of leadership is simple, the reality of being a good and effective leader can be complicated.
Utilizing these steps will help remove some of that complexity. Leaders never stop learning how to be more effective, as there is always something to learn when it comes to exhibiting great leadership.
About the Author: Brian Gefter is a leading event marketer.