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The Founding Fathers on Leadership: Book Review

By Jarrod StotmeisterOctober 23, 2017

Creating Change

Every leader is a visionary.  As a leader of people, you are creating change.  The vision must be believed by the leader first.  Sometimes a leader will get so caught up in his/her passion of transferring the vision to their followers they forget or lose the passion of the vision for themselves.  A Leader cannot convince others to believe in the vision if he doesn’t believe in it himself.  People know whether you truly believe in what you are saying.  The inception of the idea is just the beginning of a vision.  If you are a leader of one (yourself) implementing it, is solely up to you.  If you are a leader of people it becomes harder to communicate the vision to each person.

The work of the vision is the communication of the vision.  As a leader, you know the work that went into creating the vision.  Cascading the information to people is what makes a vision successful. “Effective communication is the only way to inspire and persuade change.  In what is a fundamental tendency of human nature, people often react emotionally with trepidation and anxiety when presented with an unknown future.  Accordingly, the best leaders know that before great numbers of people can be moved to act they first must be informed of facts and information regarding current affairs and then persuaded as to why they should consider changing.”  

In creating and gaining widespread acceptance of their vision, Leaders provide the only effective mechanism that can truly overcome the natural human tendency to resist change once everyone has bought in people begin to set goals to achieve the vision.  Their mobilizing, their acting, their changing.  No longer is there the fear of the unknown, fear and resistance are now replaced by propose, by excitement, by desire, by courage, and by action.”  

There are steps that must be completed for people to do this. Its human nature for people to not want to change. There is comfort and security in the “known”.  However, People do want to be led.  Don’t confuse resistance with rebellion.  As a leader the vision is a passion that has been worked on tirelessly and, if not careful, when that vision is brought to the team and questions are brought in relation to this vision it can be easy to confuse their resistance for rebellion.  In most cases, the questioning is simply a desire to understand the vision more clearly.  Visionaries are not always the best communicators.  If this is the case, the leader must work to clearly communicate the vision.  

There are two key elements to successful communication. The first is information.  People need to know the why of your vision.  Why are we making this change?  Then, with this information, comes, belief. Now you have an opportunity for success.  Once your team has belief and information who inspires the leader’s vision?  Those team members that fully believe in the vision are the best to inspire other team members to follow.

 

Managing Change

A “present” leader…listens and maintains constant contact. By listening trust is built between the team member and leader.  “A mistake common to many executives is not taking time to listen to others.  Many think because they are chosen to head up a group, they are, in turn, responsible for coming up with every idea, making every decision and instituting every action.”  The team knows the “ins and outs” of the company in ways the leader cannot.  Trust the team and listen to concerns and use the team to make the necessary changes to see the vision come to fruition. This also improves strategy.  It encourages the team to work harder and do more for the company when they know they will be heard and their ideas will be seriously taken into consideration.

 

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Delegating

Leaders create the vision.  Leaders may be good at other things but someone may be better.  Some leaders delegate because they don’t want to do the task themselves.  This does not create trust.  “The value of delegation in leadership is clear.  It creates more time for the leader to act on other initiatives.   It also allows experts in specific fields to provide solutions, thereby increasing their probability of success in any given endeavor.  In general, the process of delegation permits greater achievement.  Leaders acting alone cannot possibly do everything they need to accomplish the over-arching vision.  It only follows then, that the larger a company is the more its leader need to delegate those leaders that don’t have faith or trust enough in their people will end up attempting to do the entire job themselves, and such an occurrence almost always results in failure rather than success.”  You end up working against yourself.

 

Empowering

Everyone’s time is important. By constantly stating how important your time is, the leader creates distrust in the team.  They no longer want to come to the leader because they don’t want to waste his/her time.  A good leader realizes that everyone’s time is important.  When the team believes the leader sees this, they are more willing to work and feel a working relationship that consists of trust.  It is important the team knows you aren’t delegating a task to keep them busy or because you give an attitude that you are too good for it.  Rather, you are delegating a task to empower them. “Anyone can delegate, but can you empower?”

“The mark of a great leader is whether they are founding a nation or running a business, is that they have the ability to delegate and trust people.  Rather than order others to perform a specific task, true leaders empower people to act on their own initiative to get the job done right, it takes courage, patience and profound trust and respect for others to delegate effectively.  Once a task is delegated, a fine line must be walked of sustaining and helping without taking over of removing roadblocks and provide resources without usurping authority and observe from a distance, while also being close at hand when guidance or advice is sought”  

Delegating and empowering build trust and promotes others.  It promotes and builds the team.  It allows the team to excel.  

A leader is an agent of delegation.  If all four of these stages are successfully executed, it allows the leader to create more vision.  

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