Rob Hudson is the Business, Public Service, and Social Sciences Dean at Pikes Peak Community College. He is also the faculty advisor on the Quad’s Spring Semester Affordable Housing Project.
Leadership is a process that one must give full dedication to each day. It is also important to recognize past experiences of working with others, both good and bad, to find what motivated you and others. It takes years to become a successful leader, but it only takes one mistake to break the trust or bond of others. Having self-awareness and strong communication skills are also keys toward becoming a strong leader. Your leadership styles will change. How you lead today will probably not be the same way you lead in the future, as organizations continually are evolving based on need and the ever-changing workforce. Also, how you lead in one organization will be different in another. A strong leader will need to adapt as their environment changes.
Each individual in your organization is different, and all have varied wants, needs and expectations. How you engage with one person may not work for others, but it is important to keep the same standards and policies for all. Favoritism is a leadership killer, and will certainly cause disdain within your team. Celebrating the successes of other’s accomplishments are appreciated and will help develop a stronger work unit. This will also help develop a standard for continued individual growth within our group.
Developing obtainable goals for your work group will help guide the direction of your team. Strong leaders are always looking toward the future. Where do we need or want to be in five years? What can we do now to achieve those long-term goals? Goals should not just be action items to keep people busy, but they should relate toward the overall vision and mission of the organization. Most organizations develop annual or short-term actions that are developed toward those long-term goals. Having the employees involved with goal planning will also form a sense of ownership. All employees, including the leader should be assigned and contribute to the overall process. Having checking in points for progress will help identify if more resources are needed, and if the actions and staffing may need to shift. It is also important to recognize that certain goals may not be achieved within the set time frame. This could be caused by external factors or a shift within the organization.
Leadership also involves setting the example. If you expect your staff to accomplish a training, action or policy, it is imperative that you must also complete or adhere to the same standards. It also gives you the added experience and knowledge. If your staff knows that you are adhering to the same expectations, then they will be more favorable.
Many organizations have multiple leaders and styles. What works for one will not always work for another. Each leader must find how they fit within their organization and work group. In my organization, I consider myself a servant and transformational leader at my workplace. However, I occasionally must be a situational leader. Every day will be different, and one may need to adjust based on the needs presented.