Onwards and Upwards – Rethinking Business Leadership in the Modern Workplace

#business leadership #Leadership

Janine Ordman

Leaders are influencers, innovators, and relationship cultivators. In business, our leaders are typically managers, supervisors, and CEOs, although leadership in the true spirit of the word transcends prestigious titles. In exploring and gaining a better understanding of the topic of business leadership, we interviewed a subject-matter expert, Anthony Townsend, a Clinical Psychologist with expertise in leadership development. What we learned from the interview is of importance to anyone who has recently entered a leadership position, or who feels the need to take a different leadership approach, and who wants to gain expert insights and peruse a list of hand-picked Coggno training courses to up their leadership game.

What is “business leadership”?

According to Anthony, business leadership has taken on a different meaning in the twenty-first century. “We could make the argument that the post-industrial global market economy requires a style of leadership that is slightly different to what we used to consider as the definition. There has been a shift in corporate culture in which we have found that business leadership is no longer narrowly defined in terms of strategic planning, resource management, and risk aversion. In a ground-breaking study by Daniel Goleman in 2007, the CEOs of many of the Fortune 500 Companies (globally) attributed their business leadership success to dimensions more fundamental than technical skill – they attributed it to something they termed emotional intelligence. What business leadership involves, in a broader sense, is ensuring profitability of the company, minimizing negative impact on the environment, generating opportunity for those outside the company (such as those in great need), and ensuring upward mobility for everyone in the company to maximize efficiency and effectiveness.”

What are the ideal characteristics of a leader in a business setting?

Anthony describes the ideal business leader as someone whose efforts are directed towards the development of others with the goal of building a future and a legacy that far exceeds their own capabilities. They are also considered to be individuals who initiate dynamic change, in addition to inspiring it in others.

What are the typical pitfalls of individuals in leadership positions?

“Very often people mix up the idea of being a boss with being a leader, and they do not have to be mutually exclusive,” says Anthony. Bosses [Read: people appointed in leadership positions] often implement the wrong ‘currency’ to motivate and coordinate people. “Whereas a boss relies on authority and pressure, a leader motivates and coordinates people through inspiration and mutual interest, and by virtue of that fact, inspires people not only to complete their work, but to go beyond that.” In short, “[l]eadership is driven by inspiration, not authority” and a good leader is able to recognize their employees’ personal needs in the context of the organization’s goals.

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