Recently I met one of my ex-line managers in a city so far from where we both used to work. We were recollecting about our time in the organisation and our experiences. My last year in the place was not one of happy recollection; not because of the great vision and mission that the organisation is trying to achieve but because of management leadership style.As a student of leadership, I love observing and learning from people, especially those that are in position of authority (over people and resources); their approach and style of leadership. The more I observe, the more I learn that people are really at the core of leadership; the way we treat people tells a lot about our leadership style and defines the culture of an organisation.
Leadership style falls into three category according to Kurt Lewin (1939) following his research to identify different styles of leadership; these are autocratic or authoritarian, participative or democratic and delegative or laissez-fair. Other style of leadership that has been presented includes transformational leadership and servant leadership. An effective leader adapts their style depending on the people they are leading, the situation and the result they want to achieve.Going back to the discussion with my colleague, I was reflecting on the leadership style by some of the leaders in the organisation and I came to the conclusion that this befits a new leadership style to be called ‘leadership by rumours.’ This is a leadership style where you take management decision based on rumours, perception or opinion of people irrespective of whether it was based on fact and the inculcation of a culture of diplomacy that avoids telling the truth (unless in secret). The outcome of this style is that people are treated like a resource to be used and discarded at the whim of the ‘feelings’ of those in the position of authority or those who have the ears of those in the position of authority. The organisation climate becomes one of managing conflict all the time. There is nothing inspirational about the ‘leaders’ who manage people and make decisions based on rumours. In fact they are not leaders but managers who are in position of authority and who do not use their position to add value into the lives of those they manage.
Godly inspirational leaders base their decisions on facts; they value people and always seek to do what is right and just in an open and honest way. A person might not perform well in a particular position but it does not mean that the person is of no value; they could be in the wrong job for their skill and ability. The duty of the leader is to support the person out of that position into one that fits their skill and ability. Leaders who positively impact lives treat people as valuable and the most critical factor to the success of their leadership position. As such they deserve to be led in fairness, honesty and with dignity.People are the most valuable asset of an organisation, nation, community and the family. Leaders need people to help them achieve their vision. There is no leader without a follower.
“Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.” Socrates