best motivational speakers in India Top leadership speakers in Asia Leaders are what leaders do. It not only represents who you are but also what you care to do to the people who follow you. High performance leadership is what leaders dare to be and dare to do by taking action on those areas where critical improvements are required to navigate human efforts in an unfamiliar territory.
To be a high performance leader, a leader must undertake several roles that complete and complement the overall functions of leadership. These roles are vital to bring about efficacy at work. In the industrial era, leadership was about command and control, but in this information era, leadership is about empowerment, strategic direction and innovation.
To become a high performance leader, a leader’s multiple roles must be well understood and applied at different contexts in management to deliver the best of results. The following are the ten most important roles a leader must undertake to become a high performing leader.
1. The Visionary:
High performance leaders are visionary people. They have the ability to peek into the future and take a glimpse at the coming attractions. They see before others see and envision future scenarios that are both favorable and unfavorable.
The best way to become a visionary leader is to know your vision. Understand what it is you want to achieve. Once you know the vision, you must communicate it to the members of the team verbally or in a vision statement. To be effective at translating the vision into a reality, leaders must develop constant dialog with their people to own the vision. Once the team has a shared vision, their collective efforts will take the organization to greater heights.
On a personal level, becoming a visionary means changing your way of thinking. Visionary leaders think about possibilities and not probabilities. Probabilities have a fifty-fifty chance in winning while possibilities will find a way anyhow. To become a visionary leader; you must have total faith in yourself to create a different and better tomorrow. Visionary leaders are highly determined individuals who are totally committed to their vision.
2. The Change agent:
Leaders are the agents of change. One of the primary functions of leaders in a volatile market place is to help their followers get comfortable with change and create breakthroughs where challenges persist.
To grow strategically over a period of time an organization makes constant revisions and its leaders make thorough adjustments through their change initiatives. To achieve this, leaders continually challenge the status-quo and enable their followers to step out of their comfort zone and aspire to do greater things. Leaders challenge prevalent assumptions and trump old business models that no longer serve the organization from growing further. Consequently leaders keep their organizations future ready and they do this by fundamentally by changing people’s behavior in certain desired ways.
Change leaders are responsible for minimizing the cost of change, and yet ensuring effective and smooth implementation. As catalysts of change and improvement, leaders constantly provide the reassurances and support that greatly help people adapt to the direct and indirect effects of change. In certain context leaders are hired to bring about changes in an organization when an insider finds it hard to bring about changes by themselves.
3. The Decision maker.
Leaders are the ultimate decision makers and the bucks stop with a leader. To take decisions is to take responsibility. Every decision comes with consequences and it takes accountability to bear consequences and the courage to acknowledge it when things don’t go as you have planned.
It takes diligence and courage to take great decisions. Decisions help an organization to move forward and lack of decisions and wrong decisions make a company break down and go extinct.
Decision-making is a skill and making faster decision can reduce the risk of analysis paralysis. To make effective decisions; leaders must take the support of huge data available to them. Informed decision-making can help leaders to make better and accurate decisions. To make better decisions leaders seek to establish maximum number of options. Having only one option does not give you the freedom to decide and having two options can present the dilemma; therefore a leader must seek out maximum options. Consequently they choose the best option that has the least downside and maximum upside.
Sometime intuitive decisions trumps data and ethical decisions keep the company rooted in its values. And very often-emotional decisions can be a tough one too- like firing a staff who is unproductive. Whatever may be the nature of decision-making; all decisions are taken with a desired outcome in mind rather than just trying to solve a problem. When you try to resolve a problem you may take the stand of “fight or flight” as a response while you seek to establish a desired outcome, you think and creatively and proactively.
As leaders you must understand the fact that others influence most of the decisions you make. Therefore its always-important check on the influence and the influencer before you make a decision.
4. The Strategist.
Leaders are the mapmakers. They know the direction and the route map to take an organization from where they are to where they want to be. They lay out an action plan that requires several strategic initiatives to achieve the final outcome.
Leaders are strategists. They have the ability to anticipate, prepare, and get positioned for the future. They make the shift when time is ready and they do this several times over after considering the future and what it holds for their followers. To form a strategy they need to come with a series of action plans and timely execution. Strategic leaders understand that even avoiding taking action is, in and of itself, taking an action, and that everything either has or potentially may have a ramification.
As a strategist, leaders focus on the majors and keep a long-term view for sustaining success through their competitive advantages. To have a strategic outlook they carefully plan strategies and prepare action plans and delegate them strategically to suit to everyone’s competencies. In today’s changing times a strategic advantage would be to use technology to further enhance organizational competency and dominate the market place.
Strategic leaders are always vision directed, goal oriented, and self-confident. They see their organization both as it is, as well as how they feel it should and could be, and decide upon a course of action to get it there.
5. The Culture builder.
In today’s heavy competitive market place, the only differentiator of a company is the culture they uniquely possess. Organizational culture matters, because ‘it is the way companies do things in a given context’. Organizational culture is like the air around us. A culture is a set of values and norms that are shared or assumed, thus that’s why it is not visible, but is experienced and felt.
Leaders build the culture of a company. They build it on the shared values and common perceptions held by the members of an organization.
It consists of the organization’s leaders and employees’ shared values, beliefs and behaviors.
A strong culture is a valuable asset to a company. Focusing on building and sustaining an organizational culture is one way of showing that people are the organization’s most valuable asset. Moreover a great work culture attracts more talents and retains most of its existing talent. The best people want more than a salary and good benefits. They want an environment where they can enjoy and succeed in. A strong culture engages people to give their best. It produces immense energy in the workplace. Energy is contagious and will build on itself, reinforcing the culture and the attractiveness of the organization. As a result a strong synergy can be established.
Leaders know that crafting a high performance culture is a never-ending process, and it takes time to build a great culture. But they do it by building compassionate relationship with their followers, by trusting each other and by making their work meaningful.
Bottom line a culture determines the conditions of work. And a culture of appreciation and recognition for performance will accelerate organizational growth.
6. The Student.
Leaders are readers. They are the students of life. Growing stops when learning ends and growing doesn’t just mean increasing profits, expanding customer bases, or entering new markets. It also means growing from within by learning together.
In today’s world learning faster can be a skill to get ahead of competition. Learning is a major focus for leaders. By being a student and a keen observant to changes around them, leaders can help organizations to be adaptable to its external environment. Acquiring new capabilities will help you stay ahead of the game and continually enhancing skills and updating information can help you take the lead while others are falling behind.
To make learning effective, leaders create fact based content through rigorous research and these contents are shared with all members of the organization. People are enriched by information where content flows effortlessly. The quest for information starts with a leader and passed on to everyone in the organization.
Leaders become great students by developing reading habit. Daily reading can provide sufficient food for thought to motivate people with information that will serve them well in their personal and professional development. Reading can also be a powerful catalyst for thinking since it has the potential for stimulating wisdom and clear judgment.
7. The Motivator.
Leaders inspire and aspire people to do great things in life. They act as teachers, mentors, philosophers and guide to their followers. In order to translate their vision into reality, leaders need the support of a collective group of people who are equally inspired by the vision. When dreams transform into joint values more and more people are willing to get involved, believe in, and support something that they can see and feel value in belonging to.
Leaders motivate their people by suggesting a motive for action. Therefore a leader’s job is to help people find meaning in what they do. The best motivation comes from within. A great leader just has to ignite the belief system and fuel their followers’ ambition to perform better.
Great leaders possess the intention of growing other leaders. High performance leaders are people multipliers. They enable others to do their best and perform at their peak. People multipliers add value to others and make them efficient high performing individuals and teams. They teach when a skill is lacking, they inspire where motivation is weak, and they mentor people who need to be mentored. High performance leaders develop great relationship with their followers and they seek to understand their people more than their resumes.
Leaders know that only the right people (not all people) are great assets to a company. Therefore great leaders will attract, inspire, develop and retain the right people.
8. The Innovator.
Global survey of 1500 CEO’s conducted by IBM in 2010 found that creativity is considered to be the number one leadership trait for the future CEOs. Ernst & Young 2010 Connecting Innovation to Profit report says ‘We assume that 50% of revenue in 5 years time for more successful companies must come from sources that do not exist today’. This is a clear indication of how innovation will transform business landscape in the years to come.
Innovation and leadership are closely related. They are coalesced and mutual. Great leaders are great innovators. Steve Jobs has said, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”
Great leaders think differently. When everybody thinks alike, nobody is really thinking. High performance leaders break away from the norm. They innovate; they make radical changes; they turnaround things and they challenge the status quo. It takes immense audacity to challenge systems and practices and takes greater conviction to make others to buy into their dreams.
The present and future organization would require new type of leaders, a leader that is willing to give up the industrial age leadership mentality in favor of new style that’s more appropriate for the knowledge age, who is able to build successful organization with sustained superior financial performance, intense customer loyalty, inspired and motivated workforce that offer full potential and distinctive contribution in the market place.
9. The Team builder.
Great leaders are team builders. This begins with an understanding of human nature, and real empathy, as well as the desire to provide value to others. No matter how much someone does everything by himself or herself, they will always be limited by being only one person. It is only when they develop and train others, they create a team of committed individuals who can multiply their efforts. Strength of an organization is an assembly of professionals who are committed to their team and led by an able leader.
To demonstrate the power of a team, let me give you an example of Kyle Busch’s six men crew, who are considered to be the best pit stop team in the Nascar circuit. Kyle Busch’s six-member crew is the best in what they do, and they can execute 73 maneuvers including refueling and change of all four tires in 12.12 seconds. If you replace one team member with an average tire changer the time doubles to 23.09 seconds and when two crew members were replaced by average members, the time escalates to half a minute.
This clearly states that if you want a high performance team, you need an all-star team of professionals who are best in what they do. It took 600 Apple engineers less than two years to develop, debug and deploy OSX, a revolutionary change in the company’s operating system. By contrast it took as many as 10,000 engineers and more than five years to develop, debug and deploy and eventually retract Microsoft’s windows Vista. This means that the team at Apple is nine times more productive than the team at Microsoft. An Apple engineer is nine times more productive than the average software engineers of other IT companies.
Every single member in a crew counts. It is important to know who joins and leaves the company. The success of a leader is in hiring, training and retaining the best high performing team. To achieve this leaders get the wrong people out of the bus and get the right people on the bus. The first and most important aspect of building a great team is selection. It is for this very reason that leaders spend a lot of time selecting the best crew for the job.
10. The Spokesman.
Leaders represent the collective voice of an organization. They are the chief marketer, the brand ambassador, and the chief communicator to their shareholders, customers and employees. Whether they are political or corporate leaders, they have the voice to represent their follower’s interests and champion their causes. As leaders, they know that their opinion counts; their ideas matters and their decisions can have huge impact to the future of a company.
Leaders are thought leaders. They present their ideas to their people to gain agreement and commitment from them.
Being a spokesman is to represent and organizational vision and communicates their values to others. In most cases leaders also become the face of a company. Steve Jobs was a perfect representation of what Apple stood for, so does Richard Branson, the perfect fun representation for the Virgin group.
Very often charisma is attributed to the oratory and spokesmanship of a leader. Leaders speak up and what they express eventually matters to the future of a company. In times of chaos the cost of silence can be a disaster. Therefore it is important to make the presence felt, where it needs to be accentuated and leaders step in and voice out their courageous voice of commitment and contribution.