The word leadership is a commonly accepted and intellectually understood term. It does not need any further definition. Or does it? Do we use the word too casually, without understanding is true meaning?
Anyone occupying their worktime with leadership responsibilities or is a leader, knows what leadership means. The German language is riddled with Anglicism, including such words as leader and manager, which are commonly used in this context. The greatest fallacy lays, however, in translating the word “Führung” into English with either leader or manager – which is not difficult to grasp when you understand that the two words are often interchangeable, i.e. misinterpreted, in English as well. Leader and manager are not synonyms, the difference between them makes all the difference. The meaning of management goes back to 1598 and refers to managing or supervising a process, system and/or structure to meet a company’s goals (German – Leitung). Leadership (Führung) is the interaction with people and the ability to act according to a specific vision.
Using leadership and management as synonyms is also why enterprises are increasingly pushing leadership further into the background – too much time is spent on processes and systems, on management, namely. When you realize the difference in definition – a manger works for himself, a leader empowers others to act – you will also quickly see the classic vicious circle this creates. If the leader had more time to invest in her employees, empowering them act independently, she would have more time to dedicate to management tasks.
To give you a clear and simple expression of leadership, you could say that a leader creates a professional homeland and a manager builds the house upon it. A leader’s responsibility is to support and guide employees where necessary, giving g them a sense of professional homeland. Thus, leading means having an awareness of your role model function and to use it positively. A leader radiating authentic passion for and dedication to his work, embodying his values and standards, activates the mirror neuron in his workers. An employee assumes the same positive attitude. The basis for his actions and deeds is the leader’s behavior. Thus, a leader’s inner stance is the decisive factor as well as an excellent motivating force. Another aspect of being a leader is the strength to question yourself, to advance yourself both educationally and personally, and to expect the same from your employees.
How do you recognize good leadership? If your employees look forward to going home at the end of workday, the leader has done her job well. If your employees can’t wait to get out of the building, the leader has done a very poor job indeed. If a leader does not succeed in shaping the workday in such a way that workers go home satisfied, frustration is a given. Then that is yet another leadership task. Workers must have a chance to switch over after work and use the rest of their positive energy for their family and friends instead of tuning out completely after an exhausting day at work, incapable of taking up any other activities.
Just as casually as the term leadership passes over our lips, as multi-layered it is in truth. Not everything spoken easily is easily applied. Leadership is not simply leadership, and it is certainly not management. A leader creates an atmosphere of well-being in dialogue – not a monologue of information transferal – with employees during the workday. She succeeds in motivating co-workers, inspiring co-workers while pressing forward as an imitable example. With this responsibility in mind, it is highly important to develop good leaders who keep frustration and failure in companies at an absolute minimum. Then, only successful leadership can grant your enterprise engaged and productive employees.
For those seeking to learn more about our leadership philosophy: D.R.E.A.M. of LEADERS®