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Choosing your leadership path

"LEADERSHIP is a matter of intelligence, trustworthiness, humaneness, courage and discipline. Reliance on intelligence alone results in rebelliousness. Exercise of humaneness alone results in weakness. Fixation on trust results in folly. Dependence on the strength of courage results in violence. Excessive discipline and sternness in command result in cruelty. When one has all five virtues together, each appropriate to its function, then one can be a leader." – Sun Tzu, The Art of War.

An effective leader should be a great representation of contented people and a prosperous organization. The task is not easy since most people have different cultures, behaviors, thinking and personalities. As leaders, they must know how to balance their time and priorities.

Leadership skills consist of the strengths and capabilities to communicate, motivate, handle and delegate responsibilities. These are the key attributes a true leader should possess. It allows them to plan for the organization, make wise decisions, guide teams and realize company goals. Leaders use their skills to communicate, persuade, manage time schedules and supervise overall progress during the process.

For an individual with the burning desire of becoming a true and effective leader, here are some common styles he/she can adapt or should be aware of:

Servant leader. This leader focuses on the overall happiness and development of his/her people. They always make sure of how they can help their people attain continuous improvement. They invest primarily in the relationship with team members to get to know them well and fully understand every characteristic they have. They build an atmosphere of trust where people are free to share creative ideas for the betterment of the whole organization.

Mentor coach. Coaching and mentoring leaders get the best out of their people or team. Instead of one brain driving the show, coaching leaders connect the minds and hearts of the team and trust them to deliver outstanding performance. They balance both personal and professional relationships. Coaching and mentoring provide invaluable development where people are empowered to excel. They encourage them to take responsibility and identify both organizational and individual strengths, and development opportunities. Coaching leadership promotes the development of new skills, free thinking, empowerment, revisits company objectives and fosters a confident company culture.

Transformational leader. A transformational leader acts as a role model. They change people's emotions, values, ethics, standards and long-term goals, which helps achieve higher levels of productivity and allows people to seek and meet the demands of personal motives. Transformational leaders are also focused on changing the organization and improving the knowledge, and skills of their people. They express charisma by listening, being present, appreciating their people's work, taking responsibility when things go wrong and being able to frame their decisions in the context of a shared vision of success. They help their people to grow and develop into leaders by empowering them and by aligning the objectives and goals of followers, the leader, group and the larger organization.

Bold visionary. Bold visionaries work toward a shared view of the future. They create and sustain a vision for the organization that provides discipline and creativity. They set a clear path to achieve long-term goals. These leaders are not only focused on the outcome but on the idea that they can do something better. Bold visionary leaders hold a big picture in mind; they provide a focal point for developing strategies to achieve a successful future.

Autocratic. This type of leader is focused primarily on results and efficiency. They often make decisions alone or with a small, trusted group and expect people to do exactly what they're asked. It can be helpful to think of this type of leader as a military commander. Autocratic leaders are often prone to high levels of stress because they feel responsible for everything since they lack flexibility and often do not want to hear others' ideas. They are often resented by the team and are always tagged as dictators because of the way they impose policies and procedures.

In every organization, the people must be aware they possess true power over those in power. It takes a lot of courage and willingness to stand up for what is right and lawful. Leaders, meanwhile, are there to keep the system in order and to eliminate conflicts between different beliefs, religions, cultures and dispositions. True and effective leaders should not create separation. They should bring people together whatever leadership style he/she uses.

Ken John B. Asadon, CPA, CTT, is a tax partner of Paguio, Dumayas and Associates, CPAs (PrimeGlobal Philippines) and a member of the Association of CPAs in Public Practice. The opinion of the writer does not reflect in any way the opinion of these institutions.

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