Why Do We Need Leaders

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Why do we need leaders?

What is it that we expect from our leaders? I frequently ask participants in classes and seminars to think of several characteristics that define a good leader. Depending on the size of the group I may get as many as a hundred different responses. Defining leadership characteristics is quite difficult. Is there something that sets good leaders apart from others? Very often we find that the one thing that all leaders seem to have in common is Vision; they have a clear idea of where they are going. But, the most important factor is that leaders are perceived as successful, that is, they get results, and they inspire others to get results.

During our recent economic slowdown I have heard many employees express concern about the quality of the leadership in their respective companies. Even if a company is weathering the storm, there are frequently concerns about job security, excessive workloads and concern for the general welfare of the company. Executives and managers also relate issues that point to problems with leadership. Following is a list of some of the conditions that executives, managers and employees have identified that indicate potential problems with leadership.

•Lack of personal accountability
•Communication problems
•Lack of coordinated effort
•Personality conflicts and power struggles
•Unmotivated employees
•Excessive micro-management and duplicated effort
•Ineffective teamwork
•Fear of decision making and risk taking

If you recognized one or more the above conditions in your organization, you may be experiencing a leadership lapse. Certainly, many organizations experience some of these conditions and have learned to deal with them. But, an organization can be likened to a complex machine, which has many parts that must work together to be effective. If one or more of these parts is not functioning properly the machine (organization) will not function to its true capability. And, the...
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