Good Leaders Create Influence Not Fear
Nguyen Thi Bich Van – s3373505
For everyone who is future agencies and clients in media and communication industry, I believe that you guy will not want to have steady position in a company; you will always strive to be a future leader or manager. In order to help you have a deep understanding about leadership and management, I would like to invite a very interesting man to give us more experiences and different aspects about these terms.
This man is Nguyen Duc Huy who is currently a marketing manager of ACFC Company that distributes many famous brands in Vietnam like Gap, Mango, etc. With more than 5 years experiences working in communication and media industry, he will share with us many valuable experiences as well as some tips in leadership and management. Huy believes that experiences that you gained in university are somehow not applicable in workplace. Therefore, Huy is here to help us to understand more about leadership and management in reality.
Leadership and Management:
Before zooming into this topic, we need to understand what leadership and management are. Initially, many people assume that leadership and management is the same but actually it is completely different. Mr.Huy declares that a good manager is not always good at leading. Briefly, leadership is used to indicate a person who can create vision and help followers understand the mission of their works. Moreover, good leaders should encourage and motivate workers throughout the working process to help them overcome obstacles. In term of management, control and supervise activities of followers are the characteristic of it (Kotter 1990).
“Relationship is the key element”
In order to be a good leader and a good manager, firstly, we need to build a relationship with your subordinates because nobody want to work for people who has negative attitude and always complaints about every single task (Popper 2004). “Leadership is a relationship. If you cannot have a relationship with your subordinates, you are not their leader,” Mr.Huy shared. Besides that, Mr.Huy also indicates three steps to have connection with followers.
• “Listen” – You need to pay attention at what others say to clearly understand the potential problems/issues.
• “Understand” – As a leader, you should make effort to learn new things and show sympathy and understanding with others.
• “Acknowledge” – A good leader must know to appreciate other achievements and value their contributions so followers will have efforts to do better job.
“Motivation is essential in leadership”
Figure 2: Reproduced from Duy Tan Uni (2012).
Motivation is a very important character that leaders need to equip. “If you are not able to inspire followers, you will fail to be good leaders,” Mr.Huy claimed. Indeed, as a leader, you have a responsibility to help followers to understand their jobs are really suitable and make followers believe that their ideas, opinion are always valued throughout the working process (Kimberly and Shelley 2003). Hence, followers will feel that their abilities and efforts have greatly supported and contributed to finish projects. In Huy’s perspective, if a leader can inspire followers, evoke positive emotions and create friendly workplace environment to exchange ideas, they can help their followers work with full energy. Thus, all pressure and concerns will be eliminated to give space for creativity and insights. Huy shows me three ways that he uses to motivate their followers:
• Firstly, when your group is formed or has new members, a leader needs to create a connection and find out the purposes, interests and personalities of them. Then, you can find way to support them and give them suitable works. However, interests, fortes will be changed over time. Therefore, you need to focus on it to have a flexible adjust.
• Secondly, a leader should repeatedly and clearly talk about the mission and vision of a company as well as new projects. Thus, followers can understand the true meaning of what they are doing. Consequently, they will put more efforts on this project.
• Finally, a good leader should recognize and compliment follower’s strengths and contributions. So, followers can realize that they are important in this group.
By doing that, coherence, interest and mutual sharing will be generated between each member of your team. “The more efforts you give to motivate followers, the more success you will achieve for your team,” Huy stated.
“Leadership is about influence not authority”
Mr.Huy is in charge of leading and managing newbies of his team who will be lack of experiences in workplace. Sometimes, Mr.Huy faces many difficulties in leading them that makes him disappointed. However, he still controls his anger and tries to guide them step by step and help them have a clear orientation. Instead of imposing his subordinates, he decides to share concerns, inspire them and together solve problems. “You are not their boss. You are their leader,” Mr.Huy claims. Indeed, whenever problem or issue comes, a good leader will think about the solution first and then together with the subordinate discuss about the situation instead of creating fear and put burden on other shoulders (Posner 2003).
In order to create big influence within your group, communication is significantly important. Mr. Huy indicates that a good leader must effectively transmit ideas, opinions to followers. Besides that, leaders should encourage their groups to provide ideas and ensure that the followers are also provided enough information so that they can catch up with the working process. Moreover, he emphasizes that messy information will make followers confused and easy to give up their job. So, communication within a group must be clear and honest to timely solve internal and external problems.
Proof of life: reproduced by author (2013)
In one group, we have members with various characteristics and perceptions. Thus, conflict is unavoidable. Conflict is good in case of debating about working issues. In reality, conflict is always out-of-control that negatively impacts on work and relationship. Mr.Huy agrees that mixed opinions are the best creative path. Huy thinks that it is necessary to help followers understand that different ideas are good and discuss about it because when those ideas interact, it will provide us the best strategies and solutions for our problems. Furthermore, we can also learn many new things from it and feel more positive toward works. In order to avoid long-term conflict, Huy thinks that a leader must create safe feelings for followers about their jobs and when they feel safe they can respect themselves as well as others. If they feel that they are not respected, other opinions will make them uncomfortable then they will reject it. As a leader, they need to find, clarify and friendly discuss the reasons with their team then they should encourage followers to put more efforts and collaborate together to overcome inconsistency.
Overall, if you cannot be a good leader at this time, do not despair, try and try your best because “No one is born with the propensity of good leadership skills; it is a process of learning and improving,” Mr.Huy encouraged.
Andrew Shin, 2013, “Leadership and Managerment”, online image, viewed 4th September 2013, < http://andrewshin.net/2013/03/11/leadership-vs-management/>.
Duy Tan Uni, 2012, “Nghe Thuat Khich Le Nhan Vien”, online image, Duy Tan University, viewed 4th September 2013, <http://www.duytanuni.edu.vn/giao-duc.html?start=12>.
Expert BA, 2013, “Boss vs Leader”, online image, viewed 4th September 2013, < http://expertbusinessanalyst.com/seven-points-differentiating-the-boss-and-the-leader/>.
Kimberly, S. J and Shelley D. D. 2003, Leading for creativity: The role of unconventional leader behavior, The Leadership Quarterly Leading for Innovation, Edited by Michael D. Mumford, Vol. 14, Issues 4–5, pp. 475-498, viewed 4th September 2013.
Kotter, John. P. 1990, “What leaders really do?”, HBR, online, viewed 3rd September 2013.
Popper, M. 2004, Leadership as Relationship, Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior, Vol. 34, Issue.02, pp. 107-125, June, viewed 3rd September 2013.
Posner, K. 2003, The Leadership Challenge, Vol. 1, Issue.2, pp.23-42, 3rd ed., Jossey-Bass Publishing, San Francisco, viewed 4th September 2013.