Keeping The Team Engaged
Leaders know how to achieve goals and inspire people along
the way. While the terms and definitions may change with the times, Jacqueline
Jones writes in Radiology Management, Journal of the AHRA , that it is
important to understand the skills and abilities needed to lead in the 21st
Definition of Leadership
Leaders will each influence at least 250 people in their
lifetimes (Kehler 2010). People influence others by what they say and do, and
through how they do their work.
Webster defines leadership as the power or ability to lead other
people. In the 1950s, Peter Drucker said, “Leadership is not magnetic
personality that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not ‘making friends
and influencing people,’ that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s
vision to higher sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard,
the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations" (Drucker
Unfortunately, leadership does not have a one-size-fits all definition.
Every leader has ideas about what it means to be effective. Although the
definitions may vary, the general attitudes remain the same, and that is
leaders are people who know how to achieve goals and inspire people along the way
Leadership in Imaging
Many in the imaging industry know someone who is highly intelligent, highly skilled, and gets promoted into a leadership role only to fail at the job. Others may know someone with solid technical skills, but not extraordinary intellectual abilities who gets promoted into a similar position and is successful. A leader may be a CEO of an organisation or a first year employee who leads the team to success from behind the scenes. A leader may lead through official authority and power or through inspiration, persuasion, and personal connection. It is not just the formation of results that makes a great leader.
Most effective leaders have one element in common, and that
is they are able to keep their teams engaged. If team members are not engaged,
they may very well leave the organisation (Goleman 2004). The ability to lead
effectively is based on a number of skills.
Leaders must fine-tune their communication skills. Good leaders
tend to be excellent listeners and are able to listen actively and gather
information. Sam Walton, Founder of Wal-Mart once said, “The key to success is
to get out into the store and listen to what the associates have to say. Our
best ideas come from clerks and stock-boys. It’s terribly important for
everyone to get involved" (Khad 2012).
Inspiring others is a practice of an effective leader.
Motivation is best done by example and guidance and not by giving orders. One
of the primary goals of a leader is to attract and retain motivated employees.
Effective leaders do not lead by telling people what they have to do. Instead,
effective leaders are catalysts and they inspire the staff to want to help.
Leaders are visionaries. Leadership pioneer and guru Warren Bennis said, “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”
Visionary leadership can act as a catalyst and provide the inspiration
needed to spark the performance of others. It looks beyond the conventional
role of a leader and embraces a forward thinking attitude and envisions the
future (Farmer 2008).
Modelling is the leader doing what he or she expects the workers
to do. If team members are expected to speak respectfully to each other, the
leader must speak respectfully to the team. “Do as I say, not as I do” does not
work for adults any better than it works with children. If team members are
expected to be on time for meetings, then the leader must always be there a few
minutes ahead and begin exactly on time, every time, no exceptions.
Empathy simply means understanding and compassion. Leadership
does not require adopting staff emotions or trying to please everybody. Rather,
it simply means to thoughtfully consider employees’ feelings along with other
factors in the process of making a decision. Empathetic leadership results in
relationships where leaders truly understand their followers, and demonstrate
concern for their wellbeing and growth (Wim 2011).
Confidence is the cornerstone of leadership. Leaders can be taught
problem solving skills as well as decision-making abilities. They can also be
educated on how to become better communicators, coaches, mentors, and at
holding team members accountable. Yet, without confidence, leadership will
exist in title alone. Part of the job of the leader is to put out fires and
maintain team morale. The leader has to maintain confidence and assure everyone
that setbacks are natural. The important thing is to focus on the larger goal.
Know Your Strengths
Leaders must do their jobs on the basis of their strengths.
In order to be a successful leader in the 21st century, leaders need all of their
team members to reach their goals. Each employee has some of the vital skills
needed to get there, but effective leaders must surround themselves with people
to bridge any gaps.
Great leaders must be persistent. Mother Teresa was determined.
Margaret Thatcher was determined. Steve Jobs was persistent. He experimented
with many pursuits before starting Apple Computers. The key to being a good
leader is endurance and not quitting.
Integrity is the core of everything that is successful. Tom Peters,
noted co-author of In Search of Excellence, said: “There is no such thing as a
minor lapse of integrity.” Leaders cannot take a hiatus from integrity. Minor
lapses in integrity set a tone of disrespect for people, products, systems,
customers, distributors, and relationships and can readily become pervasive. Therefore,
leaders must remain honest and truthful in their action (Dortch 1998).
Leaders add value to their organisations and employees by concentrating
on activities that create actual value for the organisation. They add value
through investing in what creates worth, whether it is people, systems, or
equipment. While systems and equipment are important, it is essential that leaders
first focus on the people. Without people, there are no operations.
Today, leaders are faced with many challenges in running organisations.
Over the past 50 years the definitions, descriptions, expectations, and styles
of leadership have evolved and will continue to do so. What was true concerning
leadership in the past may no longer hold today, and what is true today may not
be so in the future. Even so, leaders must be in tune with their teams and be
willing to adjust with the times.
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