We all have the experience of leading; no matter it’s in the academia or business context, even just among friends during traveling. How do we take our performance as a well leadership or not? Should we follow guidelines to make ourselves to become a role model leader? I assume the answer might be “It depends,” since we all understand leadership is not only about the leader him/herself, but also concerned all the stakeholders.
- Increasing Complexity and Diversity of Environment
According to Hofstede’s researches on national cultural, leaders need to keep updating their perception towards diverse members’ background and preferences. The business context nowadays is no longer national or single cultural, but easily reach various cultures in one single team or market. In order to understand and lead the team members, leaders should adapt the communication skills to be more open-minded with different background members. With well communication and understanding, it’s more likely for leaders to start the positive relation with members in the diverse team.
As the members’ point of view, it’s also difficult for them to join a diverse environment with unfamiliar knowledge and tasks. Leaders could properly guide the diverse members to integrate themselves with each other, by showing them the differences between each other, and the best way for the whole team to collaboration. It’s important for the diverse team leaders to come up with a team-identified consensus of teamwork, in order to ensure the minimum conflict, and maximum performance.
- Deliver the shared objectives
The team is made for few shared objectives to be completed, however, leaders and each member might have different understanding and perception towards these objectives. As we already realised the benefit from diverse team, which could be innovation, various talent, and multi-cultural context competences, leaders still have to dedicate efforts to build up communications cross the team, to ensure each member realise what the purpose and objectives need to be improved.
Leaders could share the goals to members not from the details, which is the “what” in context, but to discuss with them about the “why”. It will help members to realise their purpose and even their importance in the whole team and entire planning and implementation process. Therefore, leaders in the future diverse team should communicate the “why” value first, influence the members with their efforts’ purpose, then further check their progress on details.
- Influencing members towards same direction
There’s usually a certain power and control relation between leaders and members within the team, leaders need to clarify and wisely take advantage of the power to make sure that members are all on the right track of achieving shared objectives. The powers could be clarified into two kinds: organisational and personal power. When leaders take advantage of the organisational power, it’s easy for them to control members’ behaviour since members are forced to take the orders. In the other words, members would be following the leaders not necessarily because they are highly engaged, but followed the leader due to the organisational regulation. Leaders can still influence them well by reward, coercive, and by the legitimate power, but members might not be active and passionate about the team shared goal.
As for the personal power of leaders, it would influence members in different level. When it comes to referent power or so-called charisma, leaders are not necessarily noticing their behaviour in influencing members, but members would be willing to follow them to fulfill the shared goal without having reward or being commanded. Leaders with high-professional skills could also take advantage of expert power to influence the members, and members are also convinced by the reliability from the leaders, which could collaboration under the leaders’ dictate.
- Leading the team without leaders
In a talented diverse team, it could be possible that create a leaderless environment, and every member could be the one who takes in charge of the specific sector. Here’s how Steve Jobs describes Apple as the largest startup full of collaboration, no committee, and perfectly evaluate the concept of leaderless, trustworthy teamwork.
With the trustful partners, not members and leaders, in the diverse team for clear goal to complement together, I supposed this would be the ideal way of managing a team with leaders. There’s no necessarily to have a leader hustle around and try to put everyone in the right place, in the contrary, every talented, self-motivate, and self-mastery colleagues realised the team shared goals and all dedicated to the results and outcomes. In this case, as Jobs told us, it’s good to have argument, there were great arguments happened in the team and brought the team forward to the accomplishment. Same situation could apply to my ideal leadership, which would be: fully understanding the team, high engagement with the task, and create the self-motivation environment for strong collaboration. Leader position? Not necessary.
Mullins, L.J., (2013) Management & Organisational Behaviour. UK: Pearson Education Limited
Sinek, S. (2009) How great leaders inspire action [online] available from <http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action#t-86304> [28 March 2014]
Steve Jobs talks about managing people (2010) [online] available from <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f60dheI4ARg> [28 march 2014]