In a recent interview, Kate Sweetman said that leadership does not have a gender, it does not have a nationality nor does it come from any kind of ethnicity, it is simply an individual rising to an occasion day after day and saying that they want to do things differently. She also says that decisions that are meant to lead people if made with a slight component of emotion are decisions that will work in everyone’s favour. Being a woman, she believes that women lead differently than men because they always have some emotion involved in their decision making process.
However, this book is not about how men and women do things differently, the views above are just a few takes on Sweetman’s individual thought process. The Leadership Code is a culmination of years of research and expertise of three veterans in the circles of leadership and the book lays down five distinct rules that people can lead by even when the times get tough. The book was released in the US after the collapse of the Lehman Brothers and in even in the intense climate that followed, the rules, they stood ground.
The book is a must read for all those who are looking to identify their leadership style and need some guidance. The book lays down five specific rules, in no particular order:
1) Shape the future: Leaders should have the vision to build the future of the organization. Vision is probably the most important thing. Executives look at their leaders to provide them with guidance, if leaders are unable to look at the larger picture and have an idea of where they envision the company to be in the future, it could be detrimental to the growth of the organization.
2) Make things happen: Just vision is not enough. Leaders must be in a position to execute today’s plans. The book goes on to illustrate how important it is for leaders to practice what they preach as well as set realistic targets and goals that can be achieved to achieve larger objectives. Plans should be devised and action should be taken to meet every target large or small.
3) Engage today’s talent: Good leaders have the experience it takes to motivate young talent and that is a key essential for good leadership. Communication is the crux of effective management and leadership. Leaders should know how to engage young talent, motivate them and allow them to remain aligned with the core objectives, values and culture of the organization to give way to growth both for the individual and the organization.
4) Build the next generation: Leaders should nurture leadership and help people in the organization by providing guidance with respect to their careers so that they too can take up leadership positions going forward.
5) Know Yourself: The last rule is the most important and it suggests that it is extremely important for leaders to know themselves so that they can understand their threshold for stress and must not collapse under pressure and be able to keep the entire team together even during tough times.
The book is a great read for young executives as well as those who are about to take on leadership roles but are having trouble with the responsibility that suddenly seem to be looming upon them. Leadership cannot be achieved by following a set of rules, but by imbibing a few tried and tested philosophies and working towards mutual gain for oneself, the organization and one’s team success can be achieved in leadership.
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