6 leadership lessons

I recently attended a course on “leading processes and organisations“. Organisations bring groups of people for the aim of achieving a common goal. However, the process is not always straight forwards. partly because leaders and managers have different competencies and strengths, but also members of an organisations may have divergent interests and goals that they want to achieve through the organisation.

Interacting individual interests in organisations Source:Morgan (1997:162)

Below I share 6 lessons that I picked up from the course – lectures, reading, group activities and discussions.

1. You will make mistakes, and its okay

It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the pressure to be perfect and make good decisions all the time. I learned that mistakes are part of human beings, including leaders. You don’t have to make decisions instantaneously all the time. Feel free to sleep on things and ask for advice. Also involve other people to make collective decisions, different perspectives involved and distributed responsibility take the weight off your shoulders.

2. Leadership means different things to different people 

There is no one way to lead, neither is there a formula for all to follow. Define what leadership means for you , analyse your strengths and weaknesses, and then develop a leadership strategy that works for you.

3. Understand organisational cultures and subcultures 

Organisations’ cultures dictate how people relate to work and they may influence productivity significantly. Be clear about your organisation culture and communicate about it often. Different subunits/departments may have their own subcultures, this is fine as long as it doesn’t contradict the overall organisation theme.

Recognise your role in facilitating healthy and positive cultures at the workplace and as a leader, be sure to provide the necessary resources and infrastructure for it to flourish. It is important for the leader to embody and live the values that represent a specific organisation culture.

4. Are you a leader or a manager?

It makes a difference wether your role is leadership or management.

Manager = controls (manages) people and resources
Leader = strive to build trust so that others follow him/her

Which one are you?

5. Clear communication is a pillar

Communication, both internal and external (with stakeholders such as customers, regulators, funders, etc) is fundamental to success of any organisations. Make sure that communication channels are clear and open. Use appropriate formats, platforms and languages to ensure that information flow in the organisation is smooth. A culture of transparency, inclusion and honesty is encouraged. Review the communication strategy of the company often to see if it is still relevant.

6. Introspection – alignment between personal and organisational goals

What is your role in an organisation? Does your role align with your personal ethics and values? Are you the right person for the position, given your skills and competencies? What are your leadership (and life) priorities? These and many more questions may help managers and leaders decide wether or not they are in the right organisation.

I would like to hear from your leadership lessons and advice. Comment below.

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