As a leader, you direct efforts toward some destination. People work with you, following your lead, and together you accomplish tasks toward achieving the organization’s goals. To achieve an organization’s goals through the efforts of others, leaders engage in four main activities:
• Setting direction includes creating a vision, considering a wide range of possible courses, establishing strategy, defining objectives, and developing goals. It requires both creativity and good judgment along with the ability to generate viable alternatives, set priorities, and make timely decisions, often with incomplete information.
• Inspiring others to work toward a chosen direction draws on a leader’s abilities to engage and communicate with people effectively, understand their motivations, influence their actions, and build trusting relationships. It requires the ability to bring out the best in others, both individually and in groups.
• Mobilizing Action requires that leaders clarify the desired results, focus efforts toward these results, help identify and remove barriers to action, align the organization’s systems to support progress, and make full use of everyone’s abilities. This role requires both a drive toward results and the ability to manage change skillfully-moving individuals and organizations in a timely manner.
• Assessing success as a leader can be accomplished through reflection, feedback, and measurable outcomes. These outcomes are directly tied to the three leadership skills outlined above.