Best Practices of Leadership

June 23, 2011 05:15 AM


In a high performing organization like a family farm, leadership is key, but there is often more than one leader. When multiple generations are involved in a family business, leadership is essential. Without it, business decisions are more difficult and operating a successful business becomes a challenge. In Episode 19 of "Leave a Legacy TV" Farm Journal succession expert, Kevin Spafford learns the five best practices of leadership from Barry Posner author of "The Truth about Leadership."

Who is the leader?

Leaders aren’t always the oldest generation of the family; they could be middle generations or even the youngest generation. Posner suggests that especially in a family operation, sometimes there are certain values, achievements and goals that are important to the family which in a sense become the leader. Everyone in the family works toward those common goals taking leadership in the areas they are best suited. The best way to determine a leader is to see who has followers.
"If you think you’re a leader and you turn around to find there is nobody following you, then you are just out for a walk," Posner says.
This is because leadership is about a relationship between you and others. Others will follow you when they believe that they will be a better person because they are following by your example. That is the first best practice of leadership; modeling the way. Being a strong example of what you are hoping to achieve is one of the best ways to lead an organization. According to Posner people will see that you are credible, that you do what you say you will do and they will want to emulate that.
Leaders must also inspire a shared vision. A good leader has a vision of what they want to achieve and then they do their best to impart that vision to their followers suggests Posner.
"They can see how things can be better and they try to get others to see what they can see," Posner says.
Challenging the process is another best practice of a good leader. Leaders always try to do things differently than they have been done before. They try new things and learn from the past by trying to accomplish things in new ways. Leaders must also enable others. Whether that’s how to drive a tractor or how to hedge corn, exemplary farm business leaders leave the next generation with a skill set that will enable them to operate the farm.
"Leaders build the capabilities and competencies of their followers so that they can be more independent," Posner says.
Great leaders must also grant courage and that is the final best practice Posner shares, encouraging the heart.
"If you are going to ask somebody to do something they have never done before, you better be there to give them the courage to do things they have never done," Posner says.
A great leader shares victories and achievements and encourages followers to try again after failures. He says a great leader grants the courage that allows people to do and try things that they never have before.
In summary a great leader:
  •  Models the way
  • Inspires a shared vision
  • Challenges the process
  • Enables others
  • Encourages the heart
To learn more about leadership and Posner’s book watch the entire episode of "Leave a Legacy TV."

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