The ability to detect emerging patterns and help them take shape is an important attribute of leadership. In order to follow the course of your life, you must let it flow.
A leader needs a passionate vision, skills to communicate that vision, and strategic thinking and implementation skills to make that vision reality. Leaders maintain focus on keeping things moving forward. Leaders are obligated to provide and maintain the momentum.
You will ultimately learn leadership and how to wield it by being in thrall to a compelling vision of the future that you want to actively participate in. It will act like a natural force like gravity and will guide you like a pole star. If you can articulate your vision to yourself and others convincingly, they will follow you and you will follow it.
The practical skills to manage and master the processes of leading are consensus building and decision-making. In our modern world organizations are formed like mosaics of the skill sets required to meet certain goals by carrying out specific tasks.
A leader needs to build consensus around the vision and generate momentum in a constant series of decision-making. In more lateral, flatter, and less hierarchical organizations the ability to carry out these tasks is done through negotiation.
Two Sides of One Coin
However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.
Management and leadership are closely related and overlap to varying degrees based on the personality and situation. Here are some ways to look at the differences:
· The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why.
· The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.
· The manager has his eye on the bottom line; the leader has his eye on the horizon.
Leaders are always questioning:
· What are we doing now that we should stop doing?
· What are we not doing now, but should start doing?
· What are we doing now that we should continue to do but perhaps in a fundamentally different way?
These probing inquiries are significant and applicable to everything the organization does: its products and services, internal processes, policies and procedures, strategies, dealing with complexity and change, the fit between the enterprise and the environment. This questioning stance is part of a continuous process and mindset.