I have had a busy few days and they have left me thinking about leadership and more specifically effective leadership qualities. What makes a great business or community leader?
- Is it someone who leads by the dominance of their personality and because they singlemindedly believe their ideas are the only ones that will work?
- Is it someone who delegates to individuals those tasks they think that those individuals can manage whilst retaining other decisions that only they will make?
- Is it someone who leads through mediation?
Mediation is about leading through reaching mututal agreement that the final decision is the right one for everyone around the table. It is not about leading by compromise, appeasement or dumbing down, far from it! Mediation leadership is about valuing everyone's ideas and reaching consensus after discussion that the final conclusion or action plan is valid and owned by all.
Mediation leadership is about dialogue and communication, qualities that can be lacking in some organisations but underpin others. Mediation is about identifying areas of current or potential conflict in a management team, or the wider business environment and determining strategies to manage the issues effectively. Mediation leadership requires personal skills such as flexible thinking, an ability to communicate, empathy, patience, optimism and an ability to listen, but ultimately make a firm decision based on the ideas that they have heard as well as their own beliefs. It also requires leaders to be able to articulate why certain ideas were not taken forward at the close. A leader who says that they haven't got time to listen to those around them is a leader who may end up without any followers!
First posted in June 2007