- The leader must have the mentality to want success him/herself. The leader of an organization must not be a Laissez Faire Management Style. True, there are times when this type of management is most effective. However, when creating a culture of success, if the leader is too laissez faire, the employees will follow suit. Remember the leader “leads” people. The attitude of action that the leader possesses is recapitulated by the people he or she is leading. The first thing the leader needs to do is to be active in the progress and success of the company, organization, or team. That is what leaders do.
- The next thing the leader needs to do is to determine what the culture of the organization is and to determine the effectiveness of the culture. However, it is important for the leader to know that even if there is something amiss with the culture, which he does not come in like an Army General dictating the culture changes immediately. Culture is what an organization believes to be its rights and customs. There may need to be dramatic changes but to do so will not allow the leader to lead the organization members effectively.
One story from the book If You Meet Buddha on the Road, Kill Him, by Sheldon Kopp is relevant to this tip. The book relates a story of a missionary who is traveling to a tribe of Amazonian people in the jungle. The Missionary is walking down the road and the native are running from the fields yelling there is a monster present. The missionary looks out to find a watermelon in the field, starts laughing and poking fun at the situation. He takes out a knife cuts the watermelon open and starts to eat the watermelon. The tribe’s people, kill the missionary. In his mind, the missionary is trying to show the tribe members that this watermelon is harmless. In the tribe members minds, this guy cuts and eats what they believe to be a monster. He must be more terrible than the monster.
The next missionary learns of this story and he goes to the same village and the same occurrence is happening with the watermelon. He takes this opportunity to agree with them this watermelon could be a monster. Over the course of the next year he teaches the tribe members about planting, farming, and what fruits and vegetables are. At the end of his tenure, he has the tribe members eating the watermelon.
The moral of the story is not to come in and try to change right from the start. However, be cognizant of this and help the members to change the culture of beliefs to a more successful orientation. The leader will be hypothetically killed by the members of an organization if he comes in thinking his way is right and is the only way.
- Each organization has its own ways and brings its own baggage to the table. The same is true with every leader. The leader must have knowledge of what she is good at and what she can do to help the organization. She must also note what she is not good at and surround herself with the right people who are trusted and can help make the best decisions.
- Understand the new environment by observation and getting out among the members. The leader must look for keys to success from within the organization first. Those keys can be found by observing and looking for the following aspects of the organization:
- Behaviors; language; custom; and traditions
- Group norms, which includes standards and values
- The values of the company that are written and unwritten
- The Mission Statement
- The Vision Statement
- The climate of the group and their interactions
- The skills of the people who comprise the organization
- The paradigms of the organization
- The habits of thinking of the organization
- The shared meaning of the group and its members
- The symbols of the organization and how the members reflect on those symbols.
- The patterns of integration for new ideas are an important concept for the organizational leader to know. How are new people and new ideas presented to the organization? The leader must be an effective communicator. She cannot be wishy-washy and always having to back track on what she says. The effective leader should know the answers to questions or tell the members she does not know and then get back with them as soon as possible.
- Going along with tip 5, the leaders should respond within a reasonable time span to questions posed from the members of the organization. What is a reasonable time? That is a tough one to answer. It is based on a lot of factors. However, I would say no more than a couple of weeks at the most. If you cannot find an answer to a question posed within a couple of weeks, then you should still respond back and report to the member you are still looking for answers.
- The leaders should not be a tyrant and scare those of the organization. The scare tactic might work for parents of young children, but with adults of an organization this usually will backfire. As with parents of young children, the children grow older and become more independent and they will set their own ways. They will retaliate. The good leader should not be a tyrant and try to raise the organization to be the best optimally functioning adult organization they can be.
- After dealing with the organization members as in number 7, there are times when the leader has to make decision that are, not popular. The leaders should already have an “emotional bank account” where the members know the leader is doing this because it is beneficial to the company or organization. The emotional bank account has been added to by the leader and a bond has been developed with emotional deposits by the leader, that the member know when a leader has to make an emotional withdrawal, it is not a punishment, but a necessary action for the betterment of the whole.
- The effective leader should train the next set of leaders. He or she should not look at this as training someone who COULD potentially take his or her place someday but as someone who CAN potentially take his or her place when needed. With this there must be trust and the leader must instill this in those that are above him and below him. In essence, the leader must be trustworthy and provide openness, that he is a person that can be trusted.
- For this article I have saved the most important tip for last. The leader must be someone who someone wants to follow. The leader must be a person that is strong enough to endure the harshest of climates, but also soft enough to allow someone to cry on their shoulder. The leader must be a follower as well as a leader. He must know when to lead and when to just listen.
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