What is Leadership and Team-building?
The terms ‘leadership’ and ‘team building’ are one of the most abused words on the GOOGLE search bar; as far as business/cooperate queries are concerned. In actual fact, GOOGLE gives you a generous 3 000 000 000 results in a mere 0.54 seconds when you search for the term “leadership”. Nonetheless, before you get too excited with the plethora of blogs, webinars and downloadable PDFs at your disposal, it is important to sift through the garbage (or more politely, baggage) and explore discourses that offer practical approaches, provide applicable models and proven concepts in leadership and team building. In this light, consider me your weekly dumpster diver. Hold my soda while I jump straight into it!
What Is Leadership?
To answer this millennium question effectively; we must ‘sink the ship’ and focus on who is a leader? Simply put, a leader is one who inspires others to act towards a goal or a vision. Which basically means that the relentless insurance broker who ‘annoyed’ you to point of subscribing to a substandard insurance policy may as well be a leader in their own right…right? Wrong! Let’s look at the two reasons why. Firstly, notice that I used the verb inspire and not dictate, because effective leaders are (in practice) social influencers than authoritarian title-bearers. Secondly, a leader requires the presence of other individuals (followers) whose potential can be maximised to share the same goal or target as the leader themselves.
Now let us patch up our sinking ship, and explore the concept of leadership from the bird’s eye-view that I have set. It is clear that true leadership is not merely concerned with the hierarchy or title of an individual in any setting or space. In contrast, it is a strategic and collaborative encounter between a thought-leader or a social influencer and their team; that focuses on maximising the inherent or imposed potential of all members or participants towards a shared goal. This definition attempts to stray from the heteronormative and academic perspective of leadership as primarily a function of one’s seniority, position on the cooperate organogram or personal attributes.
But aren’t personal attributes a key aspect of any effective leadership campaign, you may ask.Well, I will be forgiven to assume that mentioning the word “leader” incites (in most people) an image of a goliath-type, domineering and charismatic take-charge figure. This can’t be any further from the truth. You have probably encountered the cliché phrase that ‘anyone can be a leader’ or that ‘leaders are created not born’ from your impressive collection of motivational speakers on Audible. They are partially right. Leadership does not depend on one’s inherent charisma or extroverted status. Effective leadership is ideological. It is the culmination of both original and borrowed ideas—effectively imparted on others to fuel engagement and inspire action.
I am tempted to dish out a whole accredited reading list on the topic as your homework, but being a generous blogger as I am, I will once again dive head-first into the dirt on our second instalment of Leadership and Team-building.
Written by: Miguel Mswati
1st Editor: Alwin Manjengwa
Final Editor: Ashley Mupfawa