What Does Leadership Mean To Me?

By Franklin Solorzano,
nGroup Vice President of Implementation

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picture from http://www.stylegerms.com/

As management teams, we too often confuse the roles of managing and leading.  The reality of our job requirements is that we are to oversee processes and not people. So instead of thinking we manage people,  we need to understand that we are actually leading them.  We need to ask ourselves, “What does leadership mean to me?” To help us arrive at an answer, here are a few of my favorite definitions of leadership:

 “Leadership is the art of influencing and directing people in such a way that will win their obedience, confidence, respect and loyal cooperation in achieving common objectives.” — U. S. Air Force

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” — John Quincy Adams

Leadership is a privilege, not a right, and we need to treat it as such. Leadership means encouraging people to live up to their fullest potential and find the path they love. That, and only that, will create a strong culture and sustainable levels of innovation”-Forbes

Forbes is telling us that the title we hold in our organization does not guarantee us a leadership position. The ‘Leader” label is an earned from your fellow employees by example you set and the way you treat others.  I suggest everyone in a management position start a never-ending focus on developing leadership skills  because they are they key to unlock an employees  full potential and open the door of success for any organization.

‘Leading by Principles’ is the set of truths that drive an organization to meet client and stake holder expectations. I will give some examples of principles to help us reflect:

In business to business sales, our goal is not to rely on a specific process for success but to find a solution to a problemWe must understand client needs and requirements, identify the appropriate solutions aligned with their goals, develop a value added proposition, and adapt to the changing demand of the costumer.  In other words, there is no business guide book for certain success, we are simply here to create the best solution to a problem within a company.

To offer further insight, let me use what Lou Gerstner defined about human resources in his outstanding turn around of IBM:

Outstanding, dedicated people make it all happen, particularly when they work together as a team.” This is a principle that all companies should embrace. In my career, I have been part of companies with incredibly talented leaders who have driven their performance by their egos instead of company goals.  I have discovered that talent without teamwork does not meet client expectation.  Leaders must make sure that they are working with their unit to accomplish goals as a team every single day.

If we want to be considered a high-performance company, we must be leaders of principles not process.  We need to be encouraging each other to make decisions based on the key drivers of success and be participants in problem-solving.  Let’s go beyond meetings to start actively digging into the details, taking business day by day, setting an example, and keeping it simple.

These are a few of my personal thoughts on leadership. Now answer for yourself, “What does leadership mean to me?”