Despite some tough challenges, sub-Saharan Africa should see growth of 2.9% this year and 3.8% in 2018, according to a report by the World Bank. As the economy expands, businesses grow and the demand for excellence in business leadership increases. Businesses on the continent need leaders who can steer and navigate their organisations successfully through rapid growth
To do this, business leaders need the right tools and mindset to help them discover their true leadership potential. Being better leaders will enable them to manage their growing teams with more resilience, raise standards and improve business innovation within and beyond Africa.
A step-by-step approach to growing leadership potential can help those who are managing businesses in Africa to identify their strengths and weaknesses and discover their true leadership capabilities.
Step 1 – Defining Your Leadership Style
Every person has a signature leadership style and the most important first step in improving leadership skills is for an individual to be able to identify and understand their own style. At this first stage, it is important to assess what might be holding them back in terms of their leadership actions and if their personality could be brought to the fore when they lead. Good leaders know their strengths and weaknesses and they know how to adapt to changing circumstances.
According to Daniel Goleman, who conducted research on leadership styles in top global firms, there are six different types of leaders: visionary, affiliative, coaching, democratic, commanding and pace-setting. The type of leader a person is, is what will make them memorable. Until a leader has found their own unique leadership style, they will not be able to grow, amplify their positive traits, and inspire others to do the same.
Step 2 – Embracing Your Leadership Style
Once leaders know their unique leadership style, they can use emotional intelligence tools to help them build rapport with the teams. Good leaders must not only know themselves, but also how each member of their team operates at their best. This will enable them to draw out the strengths of each person in the group in a collaborative and creative way. A good leader knows which members of the team complement his or her own strengths, and how this could be used to drive the team and the business forward.
A leader might also have to adapt his or her style to suit the team and the environment, as one size does not fit all in the leadership game. For example, leading a group of mineworkers in a large mining company is going to require a different leadership style to one that would be needed to inspire innovation in a small IT firm. Good leaders will know how to adapt their own leadership styles to different situations.
Step 3 – Engaging Your Team
A good leader knows how to motivate themselves and their team. A leader must be able to create a compelling vision and communicate it in a way that inspires everyone. Effective leaders know how to create synergy in a team to maximum effect. Such leaders will always provide and accept constructive feedback and recognise the contributions of others, because they want their team members to feel valued and heard. The best leaders are those who are always engaging with their teams, creating an energy that will drive the business forward.
Step 4 – Moving forward as a Leader
Business leaders who know their own unique style and are engaging actively and positively with the teams will have mastered the art of delegation, goal setting, feedback and impact measurement within a team. These leaders are now experts at understanding their unique qualities, and how they can use these qualities to maximise team performance.
Source: Duncan Mutembani, CEO, Sparksync