Responsible Leadership

By Olena Makeieva, Aksonova & Associates

In 2009 I visited a unique training IBR University Leadership Professor Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, PhD. in Psychology Larry Stout. Larry was able to represent us great, who is the real leader. We watched a movie about the great expedition explorer Ernest Shackleton in Antarctica. In 1914 Shackleton organized the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Expedition ship, reaching the coast of Antarctica, sank as it was nipped. Hike ended catastrophe, but Shackleton managed to save the entire team and no one died. Intuitively, from the example of great men and their stories alive, comes the understanding of who the leader is, crystallize a clear understanding of the vital qualities of a leader.

What was the genius of Shackleton? He personally carefully built a team for the expedition, was able to unite and motivate his people even in the face of survival. He took responsibility, made decisions, on which depended the lives of people. He did everything he could to save people. People were for him the highest value. Therefore, people believed him faithfully, he was an exceptional leader for them.

Today, more and more business audience is offered various trainings and seminars on leadership. As a rule, all educational programs are aimed for practicing certain knowledge and skills that are so essential to the leader. Unifying educational programs, in my opinion, is not seen as possible, because each of us in his own way understands what qualities a leader should possess. That is why, before choosing for yourself professional training courses, you need to determine what qualities, in your opinion, should have a real leader. Then identify a lack of knowledge and skills, and only then start searching the educational programs that will help you fill in the blanks.

As for me, I identified three main qualities of leadership: the ability to build a team, properly set goals and be responsible.

It is interesting that all these qualities can not be learned in any training. These skills are developed solely by virtue of your determination and will, personal experience and mistakes. However, if people are not exceptional value for you, then you will never be a leader for them.

Ability to build a team

"What is the cost of your knowledge, if you can not communicate?" - asks Canadian author and coach Frank Berg in his book «Speak with power to success». Without communication skills and skills in human resource management, it is impossible to build a team. In the most difficult circumstances Shackleton urged people to stick together, he was able to inspire and motivate people who were incredibly tired of crude clothing, lack of food and cold, being on the ice after the shipwreck. Over 5 months people had been waiting until the ice began to melt, and they could go lifeboats to the shores of the mainland. Camp patience was the name of their team. A leader must be able to communicate with people, identify their needs and motivate, inspire them.

Communication skills are necessary to continuously develop and improve throughout life. At the time, I found useful the book Larry Stout "Personnel Management. Manager 's Handbook" and its leadership training in the University of IBR, Frank Berg’s tips in the book «Speak with power to success», expert training on personnel management from Austria Stefan Lamy in Germany. I recently read a great collection of articles «Leadership» Harvard Business review, beautiful thoughts of different authors about leadership. "It is very difficult to put together a dedicated team, if you pretend that you can achieve all only by yourself " - convince Robert Goffee, professor at the London Business School, and Gareth Jones, Director of Personnel and Internal Communications British Broadcasting Corporation. The authors concede that we are all imperfect. Recognizing his mistakes, blunders and shortcomings, the leader wins the trust and affection of subordinates.

Once upon a time I joined the leadership training in Kiev, where the speaker from the first words of his speech started to convience the participants that leaders are special caste of people, they do not have the right to show their emotions, must be restrained in all and control the distance between themselves and subordinates, etc. In other words, the speaker taught those who present to perform to the audience. But I'm convinced that any game with people is unacceptable. Always and everywhere a leader must remain himself. It is necessary to be a great leader to recognize its emotions, irritability, its imperfections. Just a sign of weakness, sincerity and naturalness brings people together, builds a bridge of trust between them. Trust is the beginning of any relationship.

The ability to set goals

I believe a leader must think big, he should be focused on setting strategic goals. Further, this goal should be cascaded to all participants involved in the company or in the process at all levels of the organization.

The aim of the imperial expedition Shackleton was just crossing the Antarctic continent, if it had succeeded Shackleton would have ensured his team with honor and recognition. Obviously, such a lofty goal was the best motivation for people who have expressed their desire to participate in the perilous journey. They were less interested in just a small salary, the constant danger and dubious returning home.

Today more and more companies are thinking about their mission, their messages are appealed to the society. For example, Coca-Cola's main message – happiness, Nestle’s - Health, Shackleton’s message was honor and recognition. In my opinion, exclusive task of a leader is setting the right goals, which mainly will motivate and involve people in the organization. Sharing such lofty goals people feel their involvement in the changes taking place in the world. They perseive that the world through their work becomes happy, healthy. They believe they make a great job, that will leave a mark in history.

At one of the CEO Club, Ivetta Delikatnaya, the Ambassador of Singularity University in Ukraine, spoke about her visit to a unique laboratory Halcyon Molecular in the U.S., which is engaged in scientific discoveries in genetics. Each of young technicians hangs on the door a plaque that lists its human expertise, special skills, interests and hobbies. "Creating a better future for humanity" – that is how sounds the vital interest of the young genius. Excellent demonstration of how the overall objective laboratory in the United States has become the vital interest of the team.

To be responsible

A very strong impression was made on me a week training in Crimea "Responsible Leadership" Aspen University. Speaking of responsibility, people often assume their personal responsibility to other people. And rarely think about their responsibility to the country and its future.

Impossible to dissociate itself from the events that happen around. One taken business, one single company in the market can not suddenly become an island. Anyway external processes strongly influence the development of the company. Absolutely, solutions of the companies directly affect on the market, business, economy and the country as a whole. So today increasingly talk about responsible leadership. Responsible within the country or even around the world.

Czech statesman Vatslav Havel in his speech in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations Organization defined the basic problem of approaching era is a radical renewal of human responsibility. According to Havel's new leaders must take responsibility for the long-term prospects for the world in which we live, and to be an example of this responsibility for all those who look at them.

In my view, each of us today should reconsider its attitude towards responsibility. Every decision and action is necessary to analyze how it will affect on the environment, the country, people. "It will be difficult to awake in man a new responsibility for the world and a tendency to behave as if he will live forever on this earth , and sometime in the future to stand trial for the state of the whole world " - says Havel. But it is never too late to start.

For a company to be successful, it is need to cultivate leadership in the company. Successful chiefs are not afraid to work with the leaders, they do not sit idly by waiting for the hero. Conversely, successful companies are constantly looking for people with leadership abilities, because they can offer their corporate culture that focuses on creating leaders.

Does not have much sense learning, the acquisition of additional knowledge on leadership for the staff if the company does not have a culture based on the creation of a leader. Knowledge never grown into a skill if you will not use them in practice.

I am convinced that from providing additional opportunities for growth, succeeding in educating leaders, companies get a great future. With this they distinguish themselves favorably today in the market.

Olena Makeieva, managing partner
Aksonova & Associates, 4B Bekhterivskyi lane, 2d floor, Kyiv, Ukraine
Tel./Fax: +38 044 568 57 95; Tel./Fax: +38 044 500 87 89
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published: May 2014


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