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Leadership gems by Martin Luther and Peter Drucker

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not to be rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humour, but without folly” - Jim Rohn

Simply, leadership means facing challenges head-on. Great leaders don’t set out to be one. They set out to make a difference. It’s never about the role, but the goal.

Leadership isn’t something you can learn at school or at work. Real leadership is demonstrated when you are thrown or jump into a situation or an opportunity.

Some of these situations may often be dismissed as routine, but can have tremendous impact on you, the people around you or on the goal itself.

That is why it is commonly said “the ultimate measure of a leader is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Martin Luther King said these famous words.

Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked, it’s defined by results not by attributes, according to Peter Drucker. And as a leader, your first task is to run fast enough to keep ahead of your people. In so doing, you are bound to face challenges that you may consider unique but they may not be so.

So, if you are a leader and you are constantly faced with challenges that almost threaten your existence or your vision don’t worry.

Here are a few challenges that many leaders if not all face at some point or the other.

The timing and the intensity of these challenges may vary from leader to leader, situation to situation and from time to time. Being aware of these challenges helps you to be prepared and work your way out of these.

Feeling lonely

Many leaders, whether or not they accept it, have a deep sense or feeling of being lonely at the top. It is not about leaders not having friends or trusted aides. But sometimes leaders feel suffocated about not knowing whom to share with their darkest fears, secrets and concerns.

Obviously talking about such challenges with teams, with peers or with family does not solve the problem as they may not be able to deal with it.

Given that leaders always stay at the front, taking a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit, leaders may feel isolated leading to anxiety or withdrawal. It is best to find the company of others who understand similar challenges and can share their experiences and not necessarily solutions.

Meaningful feedback

Leadership is about making others better. It is about inspiring others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more. But in your sincere attempt to grow others and empower them, you may realise that not everyone understands your intentions.

You may come across as arrogant or even insensitive. And in such times if you do not push yourself, you end up closing channels of communication of giving and getting meaningful feedback. Leaders may end up facing hostile situations while giving or getting feedback.

Your efforts to help others overcome their challenges may be seen as lack of trust and confidence in their ability. So tread carefully when giving feedback. Try and correct the issue not the person. Be open and patient while receiving feedback.

Switch off, on

Challenges are not the issue; it is response that matters. Some of the challenges that are thrown at you or those which stare at you from close quarters may not be the ones that you are responsible for.

They may arise out of actions by others or by situations caused by others. But leaders do not hide.

They face up to things, work through them and emerge stronger. And while doing this, leaders may come under pressure.

But it is important for leaders to master the art of switch off and switch on so that they are not weighed down by any situation or condition.

They need to learn to shut themselves out of the problem and look for a solution. And in doing so, solutions either come from within or from without, but they do come.

Eyes on the goal

Challenges are big or small, important or urgent, known or unknown. They are known to derail thoughts, actions and focus of leaders.

Leaders can often be distracted or derailed from the goals due to temporary disturbances.

But often good leaders, lead and manage change effectively and steer focus and actions of themselves and teams back to the goals.

It is important for leaders to maintain their vision on the big picture and focus their energies on achieving the set goal. Diligence and dedication are two major qualities that help leaders to maintain this focus on their goals.

Sriram is the founder and chief mentor of Kuza Biashara Limited. @Sbharatam or sri@kuzabiashara.co.ke.

source : http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/corporate/Leadership-gems-by-Martin-Luther-and-Peter-Drucker/539550-2950408-ubnoe/index.html