For many years, leadership maintained an idiosyncratic or dictator style. With this, a boss would give his team instructions and solely decide the best method of execution. This left little room for creativity and could have created a hostile work environment. However, in this fast-paced era of technology, things change rapidly.
At last year’s Women of Wind Energy annual luncheon, the 2014 Women of the Year, Trudy Forsyth, talked about reverse mentoring and the importance of learning from millennials. The concept of reverse mentoring helps tenured professionals learn about the modern social culture and at times, suggest unconventional yet efficient ways to do business and boost employee morale. This mentoring method can hold true for the wind industry as it continues to push for increased efficiency and lower costs. Here are a few characteristics that drive the future of leadership and encourage reverse mentoring.
Leadership is not about authority. Some people long to be leaders because they enjoy wielding power or authority. That is not leadership. Leaders are people with a set of learnable skills that can be passed along to the next generation. And they do this while being a team player. Everyone is a leader whether they are in a leadership role or not, so it is important to find each team member’s strengths and capitalize on them. Leadership also sheds light on challenges and areas for improvement, which pushes a team toward greatness. The result is a well-rounded group where each member has a specific focus. Remember, as great as Michael Jordan was on the basketball court, he still needed Scottie Pippen and others to win championships.
Lead from the front. In other terms, lead by example. This may be one of the most important leadership characteristics because it ties into a leader’s credibility. But leading from the front doesn’t mean barking orders. It requires a leader to set the pace for the team to follow. This includes being forward-thinking, or future-oriented, which is a highly sought-after skill.
Respect is earned. The relationship between the person who is expected to lead and those who follow must have a certain level of mutual respect. This dynamic is first displayed by the leader then reciprocated by the team. Relationship building sheds light on what motivates and drives a person toward success. The result is an empowered and capable team, and the better the relationship, the better the performance. WPE
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