Leaders are not born – How to become a great leader?
Babies are born, not leaders. Everyone can learn how to lead and become a great leader. That was one of the key messages at Nordic Business Forum during the first two days of October. In this great event, held at Helsinki Exhibition and Convention Center, world-class speakers presented their ideas under the umbrella of Impact, which is really the keyword that should be included in the vocabulary of each leader, and which requires relevant information from your environment to support your decision-making.
How to become a respected leader?
The biggest supporter of the process in learning to become a leader was the famous leadership and management coach John C. Maxwell, who has sold more than 25 million books in fifty languages. His learning curve in becoming a respected leader starts with having an official position. In an organization chart you may have a position where others are following you, but they are not following you because you are a leader, but because they have to. The first real step in becoming a leader is to create a relationship with your team. After doing that people at your team are following you because they want to and they see you as a leader, not because they have to. Gradually you develop your role as a leader by getting people to follow you, because of the value you have provided to the organization, and especially for them. You reach the peak as a leader when they follow and respect you because of what you represent and what values you have. This process is completed only by having a correct understanding of culture and expectations.
Fearlessness and empathy
Greek native media mogul Arianna Huffington´s highest values for leadership are fearlessness and empathy. And she has a proven track record for following those values herself, when she launched her news and blog site Huffington Post, which has become one of the most widely-read and linked media in the whole world. Her main message was to prove that social media has really revolutionized the communications landscape. Huffington Post is maybe the best example. It is media which is provocative, easy to consume and full of rich content. This Pulitzer-winning editor-in-chief is really satisfied with one particular thing reflecting empathy: even though we are faced with hard times all over the world, the most popular section in Huffington Post is the Good News section, which offers inspirational stories and positive views to the readers from all news categories.
Tools, strategies and relevant information
Successful Texas entrepreneur Keith J. Cunningham raised the bar of leadership to the top level with his more than 40 years’ experience in business. His main idea is to teach executives to use tools and strategies that help them make money and keep it. He is an expert in turning bad businesses to very profitable growth businesses. But even if you have the best tools and most exhaustive strategies, success is not reached without relevant information. Cunningham uses examples from flying an aircraft and prescribing a treatment to a patient. Neither of them can be done without fatal risks, if you don’t have enough relevant information, which is turned to knowledge and utilized to support your decision-making. A pilot might have hundreds of indicators with enormous amount of data, but it is useless, if you do not understand what the relevant information for particular action is. A doctor cannot, in most critical cases, prescribe a treatment to the patient based on general perceptions or the patient’s own explanation, but the doctor needs more relevant information. He will do several tests and analyze the result data with experts to get available knowledge for making the right diagnosis of the case. This is Cunningham’s formula also for successful business.
Becoming a great leader, succeeding in business and making right decisions in any situation all require relevant information and knowledge, otherwise you might be in trouble. That is what we call Informed Leadership at M-Brain.
By Jaakko Harno
Photo: Arianna Huffington © Nordic Business Forum and Studio Kraft