Knowing when to lead and knowing when to follow

Strong leadership drives performance of team – but how can you gauge when to assert yourself and when to take a step back?

The banking industry demands effective leadership to drive financial performance. In such a competitive business environment, leadership is essentially required in order to achieve organisational goals. Employers will therefore assess whether candidates display natural leadership skills and are able to direct and motivate a team. Effective leadership is the key to both stability and success in a banking environment.

However, being a ‘leader’ is not something you can do alone. The essence of leadership is that a leader has followers, and therefore it is fundamental for the leader to consider this relationship between the leader and his followers. Leadership is not a solo act- it involves effectively directing and managing a team of people. You cannot make a difference without the cooperation of the people you are leading.

In the workplace

Applying this to the working environment, I think it’s important to remember that leading a team shouldn’t mean that you become disconnected from your peers. Your position of responsibility should be used to guide, not control. Leadership must be relational and relies heavily on the competencies of everyone involved. By acknowledging your own weaknesses, you can defer your leadership when necessary. This helps to drive success by ensuring a solid and stable support network.

Essentially this mean that at times the leader must become the follower. Recognising when this role reversal is needed is important as it involves a degree of self-assessment. Understanding when you need to step back and let other takes the lead for the good of the team or company is imperative for enabling success. It may mean putting your pride aside and looking at the bigger picture.

Nurturing your relationships within the business environment will no doubt make you an admirable and valued leader.

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