The highly accomplished basketball coach at Duke University, Coach Mike Krzyzewski, has earned a reputation for being an outstanding leader. In his book, Leading with the Heart, Coach K says, “There are five fundamental qualities that make every team great: communication, trust, collective responsibility, caring, and pride. I like to think of each as a separate finger on the fist. Any one individually is important. But all of them together are unbeatable.” His philosophy for the business world is to approach it like basketball. “Business, like basketball, is a game of adjustments. So be ready to adjust.”
Leadership isn’t better than management nor is it a replacement for it. Not all leaders have responsibility for managing others but, more often than not they do. Leadership is circuitous; what you give is what you need to get. A classic example at the bank is the role of the branch manager. Here the leader is given a set of objectives and is expected to work with a team to produce meaningful results. The branch manager will need a dynamic role model that is devoted to encouraging and coaching the manager to success.
Effectiveness as a leader doesn’t include walking on water or perfection. Rather it includes a genuine desire to make a difference – to continuously work on personal effectiveness. At the same time, recognize that the more you contribute and the higher up the ladder you go, the more vulnerable you become. Taking on more responsibility and signing up for big challenges increases the risks associated with scrutiny, failure, criticism and disappointment. Yet, when weighing all the odds, the chance to experience a deep sense of personal satisfaction that comes with meaningful work will make the effort outweigh the risk.