Fundamental Assets of Good Leadership Qualities Part 2

August 22, 2017 admin

Continuing with leaders needing a vision, I want to talk about being able to communicate that vision. Looking again at Walt Disney and Martin Luther King, Jr, the one thing we know is that both of these men had very different leadership styles. Walt was an authoritarian leader while MLK was a transformational leader. Yet even in their differences they both understood the importance of a vision and being able to communicate this vision.
Martin Luther King, Jr struggled with a lack of complete and total trust when it came to his leadership. Yet, despite this much of what King did during these tumultuous times is something leaders of today can learn from. King is believed to have been a transformational leader based his decisions and steps taken to see his visions through.
What does King’s leadership style have to do with communication? First, all transformational leaders communicate a concrete and powerful vision. In the “I Had a Dream” speech, King clearly expressed to his followers, a clear call to action and inspired them to share his vision where they were able to show support. People want to follow someone who has a clear direction of where they are going or where a leader is taking their followers. People want someone who cares about their values, needs, wants hopes and aspirations.
Second, transformational leaders show courage even in the face of threats and real danger. King did not show hesitancy or even waver when threats were thrown his way. Instead, he made sure he told his followers the cold hard facts and did not sugar-coat reality, no matter how painful the situation may seem.
Third, King showed faith in his follower’s abilities and acknowledged those abilities. The very act of showing someone you believe in them will have the power to bring out the best in someone and encourage them to do more and work harder. When times are tough, knowing that their work matters will motivate people to do better and give more.
Fourth, King was not afraid to upset the status quo. He realized that doing something completely different is fundamental for advancement and innovation. So, as an aspiring leader, think about how you can shake up the status quo in your business or industry. Find ways to set new standards in the way you do things.
Last and most important, King was one of the greatest orators of our time, he mastered communication. King’s ability to communicate his message by intertwining heart through his words, is nothing short of impressive. Not every leader will achieve his level of communication skills, but a good leader will work hard to improve and perfect his own skills in effective communication. How else can a leader convey his visions clearly if he lacks the ability to communicate well? It is very easy to persuade action from others if a leader can authentically speak with great confidence and conviction. Part of effective communication is learning how to tell relevant stories and metaphors.
This leads me to Walt Disney and his ability to communicate his vision. Disney’s leadership style is authoritarian. Now the pure definition of an authoritarian leadership style is a leader who dictates policies and procedures, decides what goals are to be achieved, and directs and controls all activities without any meaningful participation by the subordinates. Such a leader has full control of the team, leaving low autonomy within the group. One could question that this leadership style requires no communication. You could be right if you want high turnover and lack of respect from your employees.
However, Walt demanded high productivity from his employees, but in order for them to achieve this, Disney had to communicate his vision so that everyone understood where to go. In true Disney style, he would gather his employees in the studio, then act out the entire movie sequence to personally show what he envisioned the story to be and give his artists direction. He brought the story to life and in doing so, he lit the path of creativity and opened his employees’ minds to possibility. I know not everyone will be illustrating for animated cartoons. What we can take away from this is every leader can be as lively, energetic, and enthusiastic about their work as Disney was. If you strive to bring positive energy into the work place and refuse to live in a watered-down, repetitive environment, then you’re one step closer to being like Disney.
The other side of Disney’s communication was his uncanny ability to sell. A leader’s vision won’t come true if you can’t sell it. Visions take people’s buy in, money, and resources, to become a reality. Disney taught us five great characteristics of a selling your vision. The best leaders have integrity, honesty and live off repeat business. Walt motivated his employees and was constantly encouraging them. This created such a positive work environment that it made all of Disney’s employee’s over-achievers. All great leaders will instill confidence in their employees. After all, Disney is famous for his quote. “It takes people to make the dream a reality. All great leaders have the courage to not focus on themselves, but rather the vision. All great leaders are persistent because nothing that is worthwhile will ever be easy. Don’t let rejection and criticism stop you, finish what you started. When you come to a road block communicate it and find another road.

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