Leadership theories try to explain how and why certain people become leaders. Some theories focus on leaders' characteristics, while others attempt to identify behaviours that people can adopt.
Previously, debates on the psychology of leadership suggested that these were inherent skills. However, recent theories propose that while certain traits may help natural leaders, experience and situational variables also play a vital role.
According to this point of view, great leaders are born to lead with internal characteristics such as charisma, confidence, intelligence, and social skills.
Great man theories assume great leaders are born, not made. These theories suggest people cannot learn how to become strong leaders.
Trait theories assume people inherit certain qualities and traits that make them better suited to leadership. Traits include extroversion, self-confidence, and courage.
However, some people possess these traits but are not leaders, nor do they explore leadership positions. There are also effective leaders who lack some of the key traits associated with leadership.
This theory focuses on particular variables related to the environment that determine the specific style of leadership.
Leadership researchers White and Hodgson suggest that truly effective leadership is about finding a balance between behaviours, needs, and context. Good leaders can assess the needs of the followers, read the situation, and adapt their behaviours accordingly.
The theory suggests that leaders choose the best course of action based upon situational variables. Different leadership styles may be more appropriate for certain types of decision-making.
For instance, a more knowledgeable and experienced group member may use an authoritarian leadership style, while a group with skilled experts may use a democratic style.
The theory is based on the belief that great leaders are made, not born. People can learn to become leaders through teaching and observation.
This leadership theory centres on the actions of leaders, not on mental qualities or internal states.
This theory suggests that the ideal leadership style considers the input of others.
These leaders encourage participation and contributions from group members and help them feel more connected and committed to the decision-making process.
Also known as transactional theories, these theories focus on the role of supervision, organisation, and group performance.
The leadership theory is based on a system of rewards and punishments, where employees are rewarded when they are successful but reprimanded when they fail.
Known as transformational theories, these theories focus on the connections formed between leaders and followers.
Transformational leaders motivate and inspire people. They help the group members to see the value of the task. They also want every person to fulfil their potential.
Charisma is the ability to convince followers that you can influence other members of a broader group to cooperate.
In tough times, people want leaders who can make a compelling pitch and inspire a sense of urgency - someone with charisma.
We can't have it all and do it all by ourselves. Building a supportive community across work colleagues and your personal life creates a balance to enable you to handle challenges and do more.
Model behaviors that encourage balance, and talk openly about what balance looks like. It means spending extra effort to deliver on a deadline can be balanced with flexibility and personal time. It means balancing business growth with a focus on career growth for individuals. And, it means proving employees with the tools and permission to find their right balance.
When you are in balance, you're always ready to shift and adapt.
This ability to be flexible is critical to successfully navigating leadership challenges.
People who are hesitant to pursue a new role or challenge should focus on building up a capacity for risk.
Start with small risks, such as volunteering to lead a meeting, giving a presentation, taking on an assignment that will stretch your abilities, or leading a team initiative. This will gradually build your confidence and capability essential for career growth.
The opportunities you want don't always appear by themselves. Your boss will also not know what you want unless you tell them.
It is important to define what you want and then communicate it; otherwise, you risk getting stuck and limiting your opportunities for career growth.
Hiring, according to top corporate leaders, should not just be the standard job interview, which has become predictable and routine, but something creative and challenging.
One has to find new ways to find out how a person thinks, taking them out of their ‘seat of comfort’. Allowing candidates to speak their mind, or providing them challenging situations to work on can be a better indicator of their employability.
One has to check if the candidate is genuinely interested in the job or is just checking all boxes of dressing right and talking right to land up with an offer letter.
How they treat and interact with others (like the guy handing them the coffee) also helps gauge their personality. One can take the candidate on a tour inside the company building, noticing how they ask questions, or how curious they are.
Sharing a meal provides the recruiter with a big opportunity to observe the candidate, like how they make eye contact, how polite they are, or the way they ask questions.
One can see what frustrates or flusters them and if they are patient or agitated. The whole personality of the candidate can be gauged by one meal with them.
Skills, which can be taught, are not as important nowadays as the candidate’s self-awareness and mental agility where he/she is prepared for out-of-the-box questions and surprises.
Asking unusual questions that illuminate the creative side of the candidate while providing valuable insights into their personality are much better than the usual fare, which the candidate is already expecting.
It states that the world is uncertain and full of surprises. Our brain, through perception, beliefs and action are trying to remain stable by minimizing the spikes, triggers and surprises.
We live inside our brains, and each of us has a unique perception of the outside world. Anything we say or document is just our way to explain the world we have lived. It has nothing to do with reality.
Our self-beliefs keep updating after seeing new data presented to us by the world we live in. If we are able to assimilate all data and update/revise our mind, then ‘belief-updating’ happens.
If the mind does not get input, there is no belief updating, even if the event/data is there in the world, it will remain invisible to us, as our mind hasn’t processed it and revised itself.
Self-realization, or knowing the self, makes one of heightened awareness, including qualia (phenomenally conscious). This makes philosophers, spiritual gurus and Zen masters take on the world with an upgraded version of the mind.
Their self-awareness is what puts them at ease with change and disruption, and this is the closest science can get towards the concept of enlightenment.
"May the fourth be with you" plays on the phrase in Star Wars "may the Force be with you."
"May the fourth be with you" was popularized by Margaret Thatcher and the United Kingdom's Conservative Party. On May 4, 1979, Margaret Thatcher became the first woman Prime Minister of the U.K. To celebrate, the Tories took out a newspaper ad, which stated, "May The Fourth Be With You, Maggie. Congratulations."
The pun on "May the Force be with you" has been used a number of times over the years.
Once In 2008, a Facebook group celebrated "Luke Skywalker Day" and adopted the May the Fourth slogan. Since then, May 4 has been a regular fandom celebration. In 2013, Disney also joined in the celebration.
In order to make sure that the team members make the most of their creativity, leaders should focus on creating working spaces where individuals feel at ease with each other and, therefore, feel free to share their ideas. Furthermore, it is essential that your team's creativity is acknowledged and praised.
When encouraging your team's creativity, you might find it useful to try all the new ideas they provide as soon as these have been introduced.
This way, your employees will feel trusted and appreciated. Moreover, you will most certainly have a nice surprise discovering that, at the very end, all this results also in an increase in productivity.
By 2030, up to 30 to 40 percent of all workers in developed countries may need to move into new occupations or upgrade their skill sets. Skilled workers in short supply will become even scarcer. Any company that doesn't join the early adopters and doesn't address its underlying talent needs may fall short of reaching its goals.
The pace and scale that technology disrupts is a social, political and business challenge.
Employers are best placed to make a positive societal impact, for example, by upgrading the abilities of their employees and equipping them with new skills. Employers will also reap the greatest benefit if they can successfully transform the workforce in this way.
Talent is the largest barrier to the successful implementation of new strategies.
Many leading businesses realize that it is quicker and more financially prudent to look internally and develop the talent they already have. Yet only a third of global executives report that their organizations have launched any new reskilling programs.
Successful and continuous transformation of the workforce involves 3 broad phases that at first might seem common.
The company needs to asses if they are capturing the full potential of new technologies to generate new revenues and not just trying to cut costs.
Many small individual initiatives within organizations don't see the urgency and end up falling behind, never realizing the magnitude of the opportunity in front of them.
Companies should gain a clear understanding of the way each employee and team do their present work and involve them in redesigning their roles and ways of working. It will spark better ideas and ensure pain points will get addressed early on. It will also create stronger skill matches and smoother transitions.
When organizations introduce new work, outside-in analytics and expert input can also help to find answers.
Digital strategies are creating entirely new, mission-critical tasks. The redesigning of work is far more than changing existing roles. They need to identify the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and experience required, then look inside to find the best-fit talent.
Sometimes, employees may be identified that can already fit the requirements, and other times training and support should be provided to build new capabilities and skills.
Workplace transition demands enormous sensitivity. Some employees may fall short of acquiring the skills needed to make the transition to new areas of work, while others may prefer to seek new employment.
Many companies are forming partnerships with new, tech-savvy outplacement firms to help prepare employees for fresh opportunities by encouraging them to acquire new skills and encouraging growth mind-sets.
Companies will need to measure the return on their investment in employee skilling.
For instance, the cost of giving employees new skills compared to the cost they would have spent on hiring. The expense should include the opportunity cost of waiting to hire.
When faced with a difficult decision, set a date or time for you to come to a conclusion. Doing this forces a habit of self-trust.
You will be right sometimes, and other times you'll be wrong. However, making a decision is more important than waiting for an outside force to decide for you.
Many mediocre business people become successful just because they get things done.
Being smart or well-positioned or creative helps, but only second to progress - the ability to move from point A to point B to point C.
One of the root causes of analysis paralysis is that CEOs and founders built their organization to depend upon them. As a leader, your responsibility is not to make every decision yourself, but to create systems and a culture that empowers people to make educated decisions on their own.
Ask yourself how you can instil the same level of self-trust in those around you.