This article is being published in two parts. This is the first part ends with elaborations till ‘I’, the second part will have explanations on ‘P’ elaborations of VIP model with conclusions.
Developing leadership skill is a continuous or continual process. It can not be developed overnight or in the twinkling of an eye. It is almost like “Rome was not built in a day”. The difficult part lies with getting a concrete concept or definition of ‘leadership’. There are so many elements and factors incorporated with each other that it becomes very difficult for experts to come to a single conclusion about its nature and scope. In line with general traits of leadership, individual style and personal traits give another complex dimension to its salient features. Variation of situations and contexts are another important deciding factor of its function. However, it goes without saying that leaders are not born, are they? They are made or created or we can simply say that they have built themselves as ‘leaders’. Or in other words they have earned this magnificent quality. Logically and analytically it is quite evident that only babies are born.
When Bill Gates was born, did any one know that he would make all the difference in the 19th century world order? Did any relative of Dr. Yunus know that his theory effectively used in Bangladesh would be used in USA? Did any one know that Jack Welch at the age of 46 would bring new dimension in General Electric Company in USA? Well, probably they were born with the traits of an ‘excellent leader’ but it has come to its existence with the passage of time!
What do Veteran Leaders say about ‘Leadership?:
“My main job was developing talent. I was a gardener providing water and other nourishment to our top 750 people. Of course, I had to pull out some weeds, too.” Jack Welch pointed out. After graduating in 1960 Welch joined General Electric as a Chemical engineer and worked his way through the ranks to become the Chairman and CEO of GE in 1981, making him the eighth and youngest leader. ” “Learning and leadership are indispensable to each other.” (John F Kennedy). “The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” (Ken Blanchard). “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” (John Quincy Adams). “Leaders are made, they are not born.” (Vince Lombardi). They all were babies. When they grew up, they picked up the quality and trait of leadership to make the candling contribution to the world.
Leadership is not single component. It is multiple and its action is multilateral and versatile. Successful leadership is a collection of many traits and the collection becomes an integral part of the celebration of success. There are many schools of thoughts of leadership depending on different circumstances and styles in conjunction with the psychological and cultural background of different people around the world. Because of the advancement of technology and civilization managers of any organization have to possess the modern traits of leadership.
Authentic definition of ‘Leadership’:
It’s very challenging to come with a single definition of ‘leadership. First of all, it’s one of the most 4 important elements of efficient management. Each efficient management consists of four essential elements such as Planning, Organizing, Leading and Controlling! On the other hand ‘Effective Leadership’ can hardly be successful without other three essential elements of ‘Efficient Management’. Ah! what a cute challenge?
However, experts believe either way if we analyze the traits and characteristics of ‘Leadership’ we get the following elements strongly visible:
1) Leadership is a process where an Effective Leader possesses required abilities
2) It takes place through a group people later on identified as TEAM
3) An Effective Leader acts as a Mentor or Coach to lead his/her TEAM
4) And the whole process leads to a GOAL or a set of GOALS
There we go with the final format of so called authentic definition: “Leadership is the ability to influenceand support others to work enthusiastically toward the achievement of goals.
The VIP Model:
As a Thought Leader, I personally studied more than 100 books to find out a sense of direction to understand and apply the effective elements of ‘Leadership’. Each School of thought has its own dimension and contribution to make ‘leadership’ more and more effective! Even if we beat about the bush, we all have got the same wavelength to understand this complex concept of human civilization.
For a better understanding and to keep the concept in mind in a much easier way I have developed a model called The VIP Model. I always say, “An Effective Leader is a VIP-Very Important Person (He/She is indeed!)”. Each letter has further 3 dimensions of leadership excellence. Altogether we have to remember 9 traits of modern leadership concept according to my model. Let’s look at the following elaboration to preliminarily get the concept:
Let me discuss each element of my VIP model briefly so that we can feel aligned with the concept.
Vision comes from imagination. Whatever happens on earth, it comes through 2 stages. First we see or imagine things and then we bring that imagination to reality. Albert Einstein has rightly said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” He didn’t overlook the importance of knowledge but he gave emphasis to ‘imagination. Can YOU see things outside the box?
There is a saying, ‘Seeing is believing’. As an effective leader can YOU see things to believe in what YOU want after 5 years from now on. Vision helps YOU to see a future state with the mind’s eye. Some people say that it is the applied part of imagination. It consists of desire, dreams, hopes, goals and plans. Do you know your vision? Are you sure about it? Because once YOU are sure about it, it always reminds your mission, goals, objectives and daily tasks. Vision lets you feel whether YOU are on track or off track. It is the source of your all energy and synergy. It bridges your present with the virtual future and gradually leads you reach its final destination. CAN YOU SEE YOUR VISION?
As an effective leader YOU should always look for ‘Value’. This value refers to starting from your leadership style to ‘energy’ you gain or lose in your every action. First thing first, are you aware of your life value? Well, I mean do you know how much it costs your daily life? Any idea? let me tell you it costs 86,400 seconds. What if I tell you that you will have 86,400 BDTK every day in your bank account and you have to spend it before your clock strikes at 12 midnight, as when it is 12 midnight the balance will be again zero! ha ha ha…. Yes my friends, we have 86,400 seconds everyday. Think of adding each second’s value to your leadership style and approach. Value will certainly define your professional and personal principle and ethics. Now-a-days time management is called ‘life management’.
Life is too short to spend time unproductively. Make sure that you are adding ‘value’ of your valuable time to your leadership approach. How? Check if you are spending time according to your plan with the right person or people, if you are spending time for the right project and productive idea and finally it gets aligned with your professional and personal principle, or even with your recreational time.
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us!” said Ralph Waldo Emerson. But unfortunately most of the time we focus on ‘what we don’t want’ in stead of ‘what we do want’! An effective leader after taking decision about his/her Vision in line with his value must concentrate on ‘Victory’, ‘Victory’ and ‘Victory’.
That’s how he can begin with the ‘end’ in mind. Once as an effective leader YOU have set your vision you must start gaining all positive energy from all sources to have ‘Victory’ of your vision. If you even fail 9999 times but you have your victory just once, YOU are the WINNER and the 9999 times become your legend or fable. YOU must be positive and make people around YOU more and more positive.
An effective leader is always full of inspiration. He himself is always inspired and full of enthusiasm. Once he himself is inspired he can inspire the people around him. As an effective leader can YOU see positive things first? Can YOU do your own SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threats!)? If YOU can do your SWOT objectively then YOU can do it for other people as well. I would like to draw your attention here with the quote by John Quincy Adams, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” As an effective leader you have to find out the strength of your tem members first. Use those strength for opportunity and to deal with threats. Mentor your team members and help them remove their weakness. That’s how YOU can play with game of ‘converting energy in to synergy!” Do you know the role of your team members according to their strength? Check this out in the following:
|No-1||Action Oriented Roles||Shaper||Challenges the team to improve.|
|Implementer||Puts ideas into action.|
|Completer Finisher||Ensures thorough, timely completion.|
|No-2||People Oriented Roles||Coordinator||Acts as a chairperson.|
|Team Worker||Encourages cooperation.|
|Resource Investigator||Explores outside opportunities.|
|No-3||Thought Oriented Roles||Plant||Presents new ideas and approaches.|
|Monitor-Evaluator||Analyzes the options.|
|Specialist||Provides specialized skills.|
Belbin’s Team Roles
An effective leader always works in a TEAM. He always makes his TEAM the best TEAM of the world! The Belbin’s Team Roles Model can be used in several ways: You can use it to think about team balance before a project starts, you can use it to highlight and so manage interpersonal differences within an existing team, and you can use it to develop yourself as a team player. The tool below helps you analyze team membership, using the Belbin team roles as checks for potential strengths and weakness. Use Belbin’s model to analyze your team, and as a guide as you develop your team’s strengths, and manage its weaknesses:
Observe your team members to know their core strength and weakness Record their strengths for use to reach team’s goal and record their weakness to up grade their skill Always keep back up and duplicate strengths and skills for necessary use when needed
- Always explore the new avenue of strengths and skills for each of your team member.
When YOU are an effective leader, YOU have YOUR set Vision. Break down your vision into goals, objectives or tasks. Delegate your authority and set each of the goals or objectives as vision for different teams as their vision. Energize them, mentor them by dint of your inspirational words. Praise their every little achievement. Make it your regular habit to show how YOU are aware of their strength and weakness. Sometimes reprimand them like ‘One Minute Manager’ if necessary when they fail or show any kind of slack move. Just sit back and monitor their progress periodically. Envision their achievement and modify their mistakes!
Your job is just like a gardener to facilitate each of your team member’s strength to reach your vision together. YOU have to identify the core competency of your team members and complement and supplement each of their strength and weakness to go for a much better result. Do YOU spend sometime with your team members individually or in a body? Do YOU know who can do what very well? Do YOU know each of their passion? Do YOU act like the head of your family? Do you have professional charter such as rules, regulations and procedure to manage it? Always manage task in stead of people. The fallacy of managing people in stead of tasks for your vision is a serious challenge for modern leadership! YOU have to play like veteran footballer to score your goal.
Do you communicate with each other effectively? Do you measure your progress of work? Do you maintain a periodical work plan to maintain a feedback of your goals? Do YOU maintain congenial atmosphere at work? Are YOU sure that your team members are as highly inspired as YOU are? Do YOU review plans and go for all possible different options? Are YOU consistent with your vision? So integrate your available resources such as men, machine, money, methods, materials and markets in conjunction with strategy!
If I ask YOU right now, “Who was the first person landing on the moon?”. You are ready to answer, “Neil Armstrong!” Well, “Who is the second man landing on the moon?” You might take time or some of you may be unable to remember the name. It’s Edwin E. Aldrin who landed on the moon as second person. Who was the 3rd? Pete Conrad, commander of the Apollo 12 mission, was the third person to walk on the Moon, on November 19, 1969, 4 months after Apollo 11. or who reached the mount Everest first? Sir Edmund Hillary is the 1st person! Who are the 2nd and 3rd? Tenzing Norgay, the “second man” to set foot on the summit of Everest. Actually I’m not sure.
An effective leader initiates actions to perform his role to reach the vision he has already set. Once YOU are ready mentally, just go for it. Other things will follow you step by step. YOUR role as an effective leader is to initiate the actions. YOU think of it. YOU imagine it and it’s YOU who will initiate it. Only then YOUR thoughts becomes things.