Just another one transferred blog post. When I was little and young shift leader, it was one of my tasks to develop leadership skills. The post dated March 10, 2015:
Recently I have read a book by a Canadian former military officer, Ryan Thomas, “Become a Natural Leader: What a Former Army Officer Can Teach You About Leadership.” Starting as a military officer and continuing as a founder of a provincial dancing community and as a sales manager, in this book Mr. Thomas shares his own experience and gives some advice on the things that should be taken into account for being a good leader. I did not show much enthusiasm when I had received a task to read this book and right a summary, neither it was changed much after the book was read. May be that was the reason for me to wait till the deadline and read the book in the last two evenings. It began at school and continued in the university; there were always tasks to read something that I had no interest to read, and then write some sort of an essay, or summary, or composition. Being a person with a specific literature preferences, I love freedom in choosing what and when to read. But since it is a task, let’s begin.
Despite my skeptical attitude (from the first sight), the book had some influence upon me. It does not enumerate clear points and steps on how to become a great leader, that will be followed by all his disciples, instead the author outlines some basic principles and draws attention to the things that may be important, for a reader to reflect upon and make their own conclusions. So, it happened with me. While reading this book I glanced back to my previous experience in the company. Something was already achieved, something was quite new to me. At some other aspects I got a chance to look from some other perspective. I can say that for me the author answered quite a number of questions, however another bunch was set for me to think upon. And I would say that this book may be a good source of inspiration for any manager, shift leader or even training supervisor that only starts his way on the new position.
One of the most important aspects on which the author focuses throughout the whole book is defining the Mission statement of the company, the culture and direction you want your company, team and each separate individual to be striving for. Now I understand, where our top management drew ideas in setting the course of our company. 🙂
As Mr Thomas said, leadership is a power to influence; it is about building the culture that works for you, unlike management that requires constant control. The balance is required to achieve certain success in leading the team. It is the responsibility of a leader to let, not his team to follow. A leader is an example for the whole team, he should follow the same rules and culture he sets out for the employees.
A big part of the book is dedicated to the leadership virtues, the main qualities that make an excellent leader. I will not expand much of them; instead I’ll stop on basic principles I have taken from the book about each of the virtues.
1) Create a direction for your team by setting a goal for them and defining the mission statement.
2) Initiate your employees into the plans of the company, ask their opinion and listen to the suggestions.
3) Listen your employees, especially more experienced ones, and take their advice.
4) Show your appreciation to the employees. It will make them work harder and bring profit to the common goal.
5) Be sincere with your words and do what you say you are going to do.
6) Do not feat to make decisions and take action and accept responsibility for your actions and decisions.
7) Recognizing how to react to pressure and learn how to remain in control of yourself.
8) Take pride in your work. Be a part of the team, develop and defend them.
9) Be patient and calm. Do not allow emotions to take over you. Be confident in what you are doing. (I mentioned it the last one since I feel I still need to wok on it.)
The author also pays much attention to the communication skills and defines its golden rule as “The meaning of the communication is the response it elicits”, i.e. the leader is responsible for the understanding of the team. Communication skills are also a huge part of the leader’s success.
So, to sum up, the book cannot be treated as a guide or a code of some sort. It is a start-up point in the journey on how to become a better leaders and in understanding of leadership as a whole. It gives some basic lessons ans skills, but grants the freedom to change and apply them depending on the leadership style each one prefers.
One more conclusion I have made for myself is that I definitely want to have a Kindle.
BTW, I did obtain a Kindle after that. Quite a useful thing 😉