Articles From the November 1994 Unification News


Strong Leadership and the Keys to Managing Change

by Don Sardella-Long Island, NY

Major changes in today's world have pointed to the need for even more effective leadership in our work. The pressure to boost productivity while building successful teams and improving morale is quite a tall order. Yet this is the challenge many leaders face.

In the opinions of well-respected front-runners in the field of leadership development, one must organize his or her responsibilities into manageable segments to provide timely leadership.

We agree. We have isolated four major areas of concern that can be examined separately.

Foresight, or "vision", allows us to begin with a clear picture of the desired goal in mind. It is immediately followed by communication, because early involvement of the team in the exchange of ideas and methods is important in bringing about a speedy and excellent result. Good communication, consisting of an ongoing dialogue of words and pictures, must be employed to persuade others that the core concept is indeed worthwhile. A manager needs others to respond enthusiastically, just as a coach needs motivation on the playing field. With enthusiastic support of all team members, the effort will be sustained and carried out to successful completion.

Communication serves as a conduit for fostering cooperation and consensus. A leader is wise to listen to, and value, each person's contributions and perspective, weaving many ideas into the overall picture. People tend to support that project to which they have contributed, so it is important for every member to feel he or she has added to the overall picture. Morale has been shown to improve when workers feel their input is appreciated and heeded.

Personal organization is necessary to monitor your activities and use your efforts and time most effectively in order to maintain control. Lining up priorities should be uppermost in mind.

Prioritization or time management is a planned approach to the job or project based on an examination of present habits and desired results. It hinges on persistent setting and achieving of small goals throughout a workday. Rather than becoming a victim of haphazard circumstances that make claim on your time, small, manageable goals allow one to feel the satisfaction of observable accomplishment.

This holds true for the goals you set for yourself and team members as well. It is much easier to approach a manageable task and when completed, it contributes to a feeling of competence and meaningful personal productivity.

Implementation of the "vision" is the next step. The essence of true leadership is achieved through allowing others the responsibility to be self-directed. Effective delegation on the part of the manager increases the self-confidence and potential of every team member.

The most powerful leaders in any organization are those who delegate; who surround themselves with competent people and then encourage those people to contribute. Charging team members with a share of the responsibility sets the groundwork for allowing them to feel deserving of a portion of the credit and personal satisfaction for a job well done.

These are the basic steps a leader may take to become more effective. Most managers would like to be able to describe themselves as respected, goal-driven and influential...a powerful motivator...a strong communicator. These are traits we believe can be developed through hard work and proper training.

The pace of change with which we all are confronted makes team effort critical. It is therefore advisable to keep in mind the basic tools we have mentioned: foresight, communication, personal organization and implementation. When these are put into practice, you will enjoy the immediate rewards of increased productivity, and long-lasting benefits of team cooperation. Challenges can thus be viewed as opportunities when one possesses the tools with which to achieve his or her goals.


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