What the Winning Formula Looks Like for Leadership
It can be hard finding what the best leadership looks like. Like most things, the best is found in between a balance, and leadership is no different.
What does success look like for leaders? The answer to this very question has been sought after for ages. Is it their ability to drive results? Is it connecting people? Or is it connecting people to their purpose?
Although people are still searching for the correct answer, people all have their own idea of it. And all leaders operate based on what they believe winning looks like for them.
I have always thought about what the best leader would like. Would they be someone who is dominant and drives the best results? Maybe they are someone with high competence and can assist with anything and everything.
What exactly is the winning formula for leadership? Unfortunately, many leaders will be asking this question throughout their whole careers. Company culture and the people they work with will change, and so will their method of leadership.
It can be difficult for leaders to decide on a winning formula because it does not exist. At least not in a set of rules or laws. However, like most things in life, leadership is about finding a harmonious balance.
Too much guidance only leads to micromanagement, and too little leads to disorganization. Too many ambitious targets lead to burnout, but too little leads to demotivation.
The winning formula may not be a set of laws that can be followed, but it encompasses a perfect balance. And I have found the best leaders are also some of the most well-rounded individuals. They have an interest in every sector and lead a good life of health, success and relationships.
Therefore, the winning formula for leadership starts with finding a balance within ourselves. It is through this balance we can find a life worth celebrating and a winning leadership. So, here are the two things leaders must balance in their own lives and for their teams.
The Need for Control
Every single company has mastered the art of control. It sounds harsh saying this because we are all humans and are free to do as we choose. However, companies with many employees do not make huge profits by letting everyone do what they want. They manage their human resources well by adding elements of control.
Leaders in these organisations play their part in reinforcing control too. We all set targets, point towards visions and motivate our teams to do tasks. Both small and large organisations need control to ensure productivity. And good leaders use methods of control to manage their team too.
Setting a clear vision is a perfect example of this. It is a good thing to do and is not seen as a controlling strategy. Yet still, it outlines packages of work to give to people and ensures everyone has their role.
By setting things like targets and giving rewards, we add an element of control. We do this in our own lives too. We go on diets to improve our weight, and we set alarms to get up on time.
Control is not a bad thing if used with balance. By setting specific ways of working, we can ensure long-term happiness and make everyone feel safer. So then, what must control be balanced with?
The Need for Learning
The economy before us was heavily driven by control. It is not a coincidence that many large companies have a hierarchical structure with those most competent at the top.
Before the millennials, companies were solely driven by productivity and efficiency. They wanted the most output in the least amount of time and were willing to do anything for it.
However, companies soon started realising that they were incurring a massive waste. That waste was human potential. Unfortunately, humans are not robots that are programmed with a set code. We have a tonne of potential and much to offer. We just need time to learn.
In our own lives, the ability to learn is crucial. We need time to question things, experiment and come up with ideas of our own. We are curious and seek to add value to society in many different ways.
Human resources are the most difficult to manage, yet the most exciting too. We can build our competencies, grow in skill and deliver great ideas. If leaders are not getting this from their team, they are incurring an opportunity cost. That cost is the difference between where they could be and where they are.
Balancing the Two
When a leader focuses too much on control, they build rigid teams that never come up with good ideas. Companies that operate in this way will also find it hard to give their team a sense of purpose or belonging.
When a leader focuses too much on learning, they build organisations that are unproductive and inefficient. People are left with too much time to learn and not enough to practice, leading to a feeling of uselessness.
In our own lives, it is hard to balance the two also. We sometimes find ourselves setting targets that are too hard to achieve or being stuck in our ways. We are often resistant to change because we love everything to be in a specific order.
When it comes to learning, we can sometimes see it as unproductive and often do not have enough time for it. For most people, leaning towards control with hardly anytime to think and grow is the norm.
It is the same with leaders and their organisations. The balancing scales tend to tilt towards control because they can be measured and help in the present.
The winning formula for leadership is a perfect balance between these two. And if leaders are to find it, they must challenge themselves to become more well-rounded individuals first.
So, think about where the imbalances in your own life are. Then you can see how they present themselves in your leadership. Like most things, the winning formula is in the balance between control and learning.
I am a Visionary and Writer who seeks to enrich society by challenging how we do business today to lead to a world of better leaders and opportunities tomorrow.