The Role of Leadership in Business Success

The role of leadership in achieving business success is indisputable. Great leaders who create great businesses are “made” not “born”. You know why? True leadership is learned; it is not automatic. To answer the question whether leaders are made or born, great theorist, Mr. Bass, postulated the all time Bass Theory of leadership (1989 &1990). He said that there are three theories of leadership.

Firstly, the Trait Theory, which says that some personality traits may lead people naturally into leadership roles. Secondly, Great Event Theory, which believes that a crisis or important event may cause a person to rise to the occasion. And thirdly, the Transformational Theory, which says that people can choose to become leaders and learn leadership skills. This third theory is the bases for this article.

In other words, you don’t have an excuse to say you are waiting to locate your leadership traits before you can become a leader or wait for a crisis situation to arise before you assume leadership role as the Great Event Theory asserts; but that you choose to become a leader by learning leadership skills as the Transformational Theory stipulates.

You see, we are all born with leadership potential wrapped in us. But it is our responsibility to develop it, nurture it, and birth it out. It won’t just come out on its own. It requires your attention to develop it and it is about you choosing to become a leader.

A philosopher once said that there are five domains of leadership: self-leadership, leading another person, leading a group, leading an organization or business, and finally, leading a nation. If you look critically at the five domains as outlined above, you can see vividly the progressions that one undergoes to become a leader. You cannot lead others talk less of leading an organization if you cannot lead yourself.

All that your business is today and all that it will become tomorrow will be as a result of your state of leadership in directing the course of the business. As Warren Bennis, a leadership expert said, “A business short on capital can borrow money and one with poor location can move; but a business short on leadership has little chance of survival.”

What is leadership? What does it mean to be a leader? And how does leaders and leadership impact on business or organization? Let’s begin by looking at definition of leadership. Leadership is an influence relationship between leaders and followers who intend real changes and outcomes that reflect their shared purposes.

Leadership involves influence, it occurs among people, those people intentionally desire significant changes, and the changes reflect purposes shared by leaders and followers. An important aspect of leadership is influencing others to come together around a common vision. Thus, a leader is a visionary who influences, motivates, communicates, and energizes the followers to do what ordinarily they may not be willing to do themselves.

The impact of leadership in building a successful business is quite enormous. Firstly, leaders make things happen—They are the catalyst for business success; they challenge the status-quo; they are vision-driven; they think differently. Secondly, leaders manage through times of change—They determine direction; they are goal-setters and goal-getters; they move organizations from where they are to where they need to be. And thirdly, leaders are revolutionaries—They face reality and mobilize appropriate resources; they encourage others to do the same; they leave a footprint that cannot be erased.

These are the Jack Welch of the 21st Century who turns a dying business to a multi-billion dollar business. In his quest to better define the roles leaders plays in their business or organisation, Leadership expert, John Maxwell, stipulates the five levels of leadership: The positional leader, the relational leader, the result oriented leader, the people development leader, and finally the respected leader. The big question now is: what level of leader are you in your business?

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