Over time, leadership strategies have changed to reflect the corporate requirements of their eras. For instance, during the transactional period of the 1930s, leadership strategy focused around motivating employees to be as efficient as possible so that companies could outproduce their competition. During the quality revolution of the 1970s, leadership strategy centered around empowering employees to make decisions about product quality so that corporations could out craft their competition. Our current era, the transcultural age, requires a leadership strategy that encourages innovation so that companies might create a more distinct brand image over their competition. Despite the ever-shifting leadership strategies, three leadership strategies have endured for 100 years, and will continue to endure into the foreseeable future:
- Maintaining credibility Credibility is one of the top traits we look for in leaders. Almost every other desirable quality – including honesty, competency, vision, etc., – impacts credibility. Given that our careers play a vital role in our livelihood, it’s understandable that we need to feel a sense of credibility not just in our own areas of responsibility, but also the organization’s mission, vision, goals, and more. A leader’s focus on credibility will pay dividends.
- Moving others forward into the future Most of us would agree that focusing on the future is essential for the long-term vitality of the company. Leaders often try to inspire others with their heads rather than their hearts by framing the future in terms of goals, strategies, and missions. These are great frameworks when it comes time to execute, but to ignite that initial spark of passion in the hearts of their employees, leaders should use a more authentic, inspirational dialogue.
- Mobilizing others to have more autonomy Intuitively, it’s easy to understand how leaders have more potential for impact as they delegate away particular areas of responsibility. Not only is this a “win-win,” but there’s a “cost-cost.” While leaders must be willing to relinquish control, employees must accept ownership and the risks associated with ownership. Still, increasing employees’ autonomy is a worthwhile strategy that stands the test of time.
Use these three leadership strategies as the bedrock of your leadership foundation.