Geez, I’ve seen a bunch of posts and articles lately on the “evolution of leadership.” It seems a fair number of people are falling into the trap of believing that leadership needs to “adapt” to the “times.”
Well, that just ain’t so!
Certainly some, just some, of the tactics of leadership change through the years. The well documented generational differences dictate that change. Generally speaking, very generally speaking, the motivational triggers of the different generations vary, but not as much as many people think.
Given those variances good leaders adjust. But they don’t adjust to trick or manipulate, they adjust to deliver motivation, discipline, and vision in the manor in which it is best received.
While some leadership tactics change the core leadership principles and strategies do not.
They don’t change because leadership is about people and people haven’t really changed….ever.
The basic human needs, as described by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs have never really changed. Humans as it turns out are human. It doesn’t make a difference when they were born, where they where born, what sex they are, what color they are, or if they are rich or poor, humans are human. Every single one of them.
Leaders don’t lead businesses, (businesses are managed) leaders don’t lead countries, (countries are governed) leaders lead people, nothing more and nothing less. Those people also happen to be human.
Leaders get in trouble when they forget that very basic fact.
One of the biggest reasons that people dislike change is because they see change as a threat to one or more of their basic human needs. A leader understands that just because it might not make sense to the leader doesn’t mean it isn’t very real to the person they are leading.
Here’s another thing that can cause challenges for a leader. While human beings basic needs are much the same no two people are exactly identical. Even identical twins would be better described as “more similar” than most people. Understanding the differences of the people you lead is what makes leading so interesting and a constant learning experience.
Great leaders understand the sameness of their people’s basic needs to develop leadership strategies and learn the unique aspects of their people’s personalities to develop the tactics of successful leadership. In both cases they never forget that they are leading people not things.
That’s why the most important skills for a leader to have are people skills. They always have been most important and they will always be most important. Because leadership is about people!
That’s never changed and it never will.