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If the above statement is closely and deeply analyzed, the leader lead by people power than his own power as an individual; listen to the subordinates; willing to share the power with the team members and motivate the team through motivating and celebrating success. In addition, decisions are made via brainstorming; leader reacts to changes in a way subordinates understand and accept the changes, in other words, being flexible. In a nutshell, leader never claims the ownership of success rather share the success as a team!
In order to provide my view on the above question, let me select some key successful world-class leaders and describe the wining characteristics / skills of them.
John T. Chambers
Chambers is the Chairman and CEO of CISCO Systems, Chambers strategy was employing the best talent in technology through aggressive recruitment programme. His quote about hiring is "hire the best people even though they are sometimes difficult to manage". He also believed that one of the key responsibilities of a CEO is to set free the talent of people by listening to them which will enable finding new insights. His believe on creative talents justify the argument that work is done with less guidance. He is one the leaders who create the strategy but let the followers to achieve it (Davidson, 2009).
Goldener is the president and CEO of Hasbro, Inc. He is another successful leader who believes in teamwork and love to have talents who can come up with innovative ideas which does not strike in his thoughts (Davidson, 2009). Goldener in an interview has mentioned that the corporate responsibility is part of company DNA and within the heart of employees. On top, he has mentioned that it is both top down and bottom up approach (Goldner, n.d.). This message has given an insight of how he leads his team towards a vision.
Jean - Paul Agon
The CEO of L'Oreal has been a people person, charismatic leader and a persuasive talker. He believes that the critical factor to success is individual talent whom can come up with innovative ideas (Davidson, 2009).He has won the award of leadership in ethics in 2008 (Ethics resource center, 2009). He believed in encouraging dialogues on ethics throughout the organization and making employees comfortable in understanding things which will enable them to follow the path. He has considered the award as a strong recognition of the employees' efforts and encouragement for the future. This shows how he motivates his people.
Alan George Lafley
Lafley is the former chairman of P&G, who revolved P&G to suit the 21st century through radical change. He is one of the challenging leaders who handled change effectively. The admiring winning skills of him are listening, asking and quietly explaining (Davidson, 2009). Lafley is one of the best delegators who shape the decisions than making it. He believed and encouraged discussions/brainstorming. He is a great fan of Lou Gerstner's thought on "strategic vision can be a distraction", he insisted and made the managers to come up with a winning culture for P&G (Gupta and Wendler, 2005).
Semler is the CEO of Semco, the young leader. His leadership challenge and success is that he believed and allowed running the business entirely by the staff. His view was that people would be more creative and productive if they are allowed to raise their views. He argued that giving only direction would frustrate the employees and lock up their own contribution. He says if people are not allowed to do what they want, the real capability of them will not be known at all (Davidson, 2009). He believed in "trust" and "empowerment" rather than "direction" and "control".
The president and CEO of Wellpoint is one of the great examples for good listener. She was been selected as the powerful women in 2007 by Forbes magazine. She believed that traditional command and control management style which was more of a male quality is outdated and will not suit the current world, rather she believed in emotional intelligence and people skills (Fisher, 2008).
President and CEO of Western Union is another powerful woman. She is been identified as a leader with practical, empathetic, analytical problem solving skills (Davidson, 2009). She believes that nothing is more important than the respect of your colleague even being the CEO. Her lesson in business communication is that never assume someone will understand what you want. Summarize conversations and ensure everyone understand what have been talked.
One of the excellent leader/entrepreneur who believed on open and information leadership style which was apparent in staff parties and rewards for high achievers. His strategy is to put employees ahead of customers and shareholders in order to build sustainable business. He says happy employees keep customers happy and happy customers create lot of happiness in shareholders. Corporations without good people are good for nothing (Mathew, 2005).
By looking at the above world famous leaders' leadership style, the main focus of all of them are on treating the employees in a manner that they are motivated, challenged and perform towards the vision of the leaders. Making them involved in decision making, listening and brainstorming enable the followers to feel ownership of the decision. It makes them to think creatively which will not be possible if each and every step of actions are designed by the leader and instructed to the followers. It is suitable to mention an old quote "tell meâ€¦.. I forgot, show meâ€¦.. I remember, Involve meâ€¦. I learn". The main idea of brainstorming is to allow freedom to everyone in the group to express ideas without fear of others. Brainstorming is 44% more effective compare to traditional problem solving methods (Brahm and Kleiner, 1996).
Human equation plays a major role in a company's success. People centered strategy which insists on high performance management practices that will be difficult to imitate by the competitors will lead to sustained profitability. At the same time high performance management practices will enable performance results which are innovative, flexible, high productivity, etcâ€¦ will also lead to sustained profitability (Pfeffer, 1998).
Leaders have to be flexible enough in order to encourage and attract followers to perform effectively. Flexibility is defined as willing to response in different ways significantly to different situation requirement (Zaccaro et al, 1991). Great leaders are having a good mix of principles and flexibility.
One of the highlights in the above leaders is how they have implemented change successfully. In order to deal with change, the leader should be interested in his followers and show real care on them. This is a special need when employees are stressed and working under the change. Employees are willing to say something during the change where the leader should be ready to listen and seek feedbacks from others. Leader is expected to explain the potential of change. Involving employees in discussion and decision making during the change implementation will improve the moral of the employees (Nelson and Economy, 2005).
Effective empowerment can be seen as a successful leadership style. Putting power in the hands of the people in doing work through encouraging them to take responsibility for their contribution will bring high performance. Leader is expected to create roles with clarity of what is expected to be done by the followers. Sharing and rotating leadership is one of the motivations and talent-building strategies based on the skills followers have (Nelson and Economy, 2005).
"Motivating employees through reward is the world's greatest management principles" (Nelson and Economy, 2005, p. 61). Motivation can be through praise, support & involvement, authority, flexible working hours, learning & development and other motives based on what the followers exactly needs. Creative motivation strategy can be build up through discussions with the employees what he or she needs, what work preference he or she prefer and what are the ambitions. Celebrating success is another motivation tool which cheers up and boosts the performance of employees.
In conclusion, the leader putting his employees on the top of the process and having a clear vision and strategy will become the successful leader and at the same time make the organization a successful sustainable one. Leader should recognize the raising staff morale is key in any business success. In addition, effective communication which encourage the culture of transparency, ethical concerns in valuing the social community, quick and innovative thinking ability, honesty and integrity, dynamic, willingness to share power are some of the additional leadership styles which every successful leader holds.