Elon Musk and how he handles his newly acquired Twitter, has been all over the news this week. He is widely criticised for his new rules and also his attitude towards staff, but there has also been support, mostly based on his previous successes. Being a good leader doesn’t always make you popular, but what do we really see as a good leader in today’s world?
How has leadership changed? Traditionally, the leader was regarded as the one in control, the one who determines the rules and regulations and sets the boundaries. In a modern business, those sentiments might not be completely off the table, but just expecting your team to follow blindly is not embraced as sound business practice anymore. Workers today are encouraged to think for themselves, to be creative and pitch new ideas. Leaders in the modern era therefore have to give direction and inspire, while keeping in mind that workers expect to have their opinions heard. It sounds ideal, but I guess it isn’t always that easy to execute. (Read more)
It is the leader’s job to set realistic and achievable goals, ensure all departments align and then make those goals reality.
It goes without saying, but please let’s say it: goals have to be communicated. Shareholders, the board, the management team and the bigger employee base all have to know the goals. It is the job and responsibility of the leader to ensure that his entire team understands the bigger picture and that all departments align to ultimately achieve the goal.
In most instances, a wide skill set is required to achieve your goal. A good leader knows how to source an expert team. More importantly, the leader should empower these experts to do what is best and trust their direction. Having dedicated employees can be a company’s biggest asset. Leaders should identify opportunities for growth and support to not only ensure a better skill set within the company but also to encourage better performance and employee retention.
Change can be scary, but leaders should not be scared easily. Encourage innovation! In a competitive environment, businesses have to be critical about their offering and constantly come up with new ideas. This doesn’t mean change for change’s sake but at least creating a space where the efficiency and competitiveness of an operation can be questioned and answered with creative alternatives.
Leaders take responsibility, but when you have a good team, you can also share responsibility. Giving accountability to staff often enhances their performance and allows you time to do more than policing.
Barriers within a business look different today than a few years ago. In general, structures are a little more relaxed, hierarchies might be flatter and younger generations in your employment might just have a different attitude. Demands are different from a decade or two ago. Red tape was such an important part of organisations in the past, now it discourages creativity. Office hours and even a dress code were part of most work environments, but today, there is much more room for individuality and working remotely is the order of the day. Managing these new conditions might be more difficult, but having a traditional approach in a modern environment will not work either.
Acknowledgment is important. Patronising congratulations is not what it is about. Really knowing what a team member contributes and recognising their effort will have a positive effect on the work environment and productivity.
One leadership quality that hasn’t changed, is the example you set. It can’t all be talk and no action. “If communication is important to you, establish an open-door policy. If you want to nurture innovation, set up brainstorming sessions where you express your innovative ideas and encourage others to express their own.” (Read more)
Is Elon Musk a good leader? He still has to prove himself when it comes to Twitter, but he wouldn’t be the richest person in the world if he didn’t know what he was doing. According to leaders.com: “Elon Musk’s leadership style is transformational since it focuses on innovation and achieving large-scale goals. This leadership style’s strengths are innovative thinking, analysis, problem-solving, planning, and strategy execution.”
If one considers his success with SpaceX and Tesla, one can’t discount Musk as a leader. Perhaps he’s a bit weird and with the acquisition of Twitter, a social media channel designed at sharing news and opinion, he has opened himself to criticism, but it would be interesting to see what happens.
Being a leader in your immediate environment or in a company is one thing, being regarded as a leader in public opinion, might be something different. According to teambuilding.com “Good leaders share a level of brilliance that enables them to inspire the masses toward new ideas and innovations.” Leaders who we consider to have been successful in this regard ranges from Gandhi, Mandela, Martin Luther King, Walt Disney, Oprah and Mother Theresa. Let’s see what happens to Elon Musk!