The essence of true leadership

By TowerStone

South Africans are hungry for inspiring leaders across all spheres of their lives, but in our fast paced world, those tasked with leadership often find it challenging to prioritize which principles are vital for true leadership.

In recognition of the need for defined building blocks, South African leadership centre TowerStone has developed leadership coaching programmes based on five principles, which have been deemed essential to build effective organisations and sustainable businesses.

These are:

  • Direction and purpose
  • Communication
  • Leading all the time
  • Inspiration
  • Leading by example

 Direction and purpose

Leadership is ultimately about creating a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen. Therefore to be effective leaders you have to set direction and have a purpose in mind. This ensures that everyone working with you is always aware of where you are going and more importantly why.

A positive turnaround in teams and organisations has been seen in those who take this on board. Through leaders implementing what they have learnt through, and empowering their team members to do the same, drops in cultural entropy (misalignment) of as much as 26% have been witnessed.

Communication and engagement

Leaders need to communicate effectively. The importance of communication cannot be overestimated. Effective communication is both constant and consistent. Consistently means “never failing” which is to be expected. Yet this can be once a year for 10 years, which would not be effective. Constantly means all the time. Effective communication is also a two-way process. Effective business leaders engage with their employees.

Employee engagement is more than just communication, although it starts with keeping employees informed. They need to know what the organisational intent is and they need to be led to an understanding of their role in it. The difference between communication and engagement is recognizing that engagement is a two-way process.

Leading all the time

Leadership cannot be switched on and off. Leadership is a purpose, almost a calling and it has to be intentional. Great leaders are the kinds of individuals who are consistent in who they are and how they show up. There are very few examples of great leaders who have failed at this point.

Inspiring followers

Being able to inspire others is possibly the most difficult attribute to achieve.  To be truly inspired, means to find that one thing that jolts you into action. Inspiration creates energy and movement. Leaders have to touch people’s minds, hands and hearts.

Leading by example

This may sound like a cliché, but good leaders inspire others through leading by example. Leading by example is to live the values of your organisation. Leaders need to take the time to reflect and ask themselves if they are true ambassadors, living the values expected from them by the organisation. Sometimes this requires a long, hard look in the mirror.

When a point is reached where each of these philosophies become habit, there is the beginning of an understanding of the value of true leadership and the impact it has on the sustainability of a business.

Source: TowerStone (www.towerstone-global.com)