One of these things is not like the other

By: Serena CassidyOver the past few weeks I've kept my ear to the ground listening for any tidbits I could find on leadership within an organizational context. It didn't take long, as on November 22nd, the Nova Scotia Provincial Government released its Throne Speech. Contained within this Speech is a vision for 'The New Nova Scotia.' Leadership is mentioned several times within the document, with a central emphasis on 'continuing to provide leadership in growing our economy.Public servants are also actively talking about leadership. Recently, at a forum for policy professionals within government, a senior public servant stated that, 'We all manage; the question is how many of us lead. That's what we have to do to be successful in the 21st century.This gave me food for thought. Certainly, many young public servants I know aspire to be managers, but what about becoming a leader? I remember making this distinction during a job interview, when asked the proverbial, 'Where do you see yourself in the next 5 10 years?-.- I said I wanted to become a leader, but that didn't mean I wanted to become the head of the organization. Some of the literature on leadership echoes this sentiment we all don't have to become managers to gain leadership opportunities. In fact, leading and managing are often considered to be two separate parts of a whole; if the two can be aligned you get a charismatic, influential, self motivating leader who is able to use the organization's vision, mission and purpose to effectively inspire change within an organization. Of course, charisma can also be used to foster 'negative' organizational behaviours; think of those organizations where an influential leader achieved success at first, only for the entire organization to go 'down the tubes' when the leader's vision falls out of alignment with that of the organization.One way to find out about your leadership style is to have a 360-degree assessment done of your leadership competencies. I've had the opportunity to fill these out for colleagues, they provide a neutral way to provide feedback and suggestions for a colleague's leadership development, through the use of a survey and open ended questionnaire. Ideally, colleagues at varying levels are chosen to evaluate your leadership skills (i.e. those you supervise, peers, and supervisors). The feedback from up to a dozen colleagues is then synthesized and presented back to you and your human resource advisor in a report.I've discovered that leadership skills can be developed by seeking opportunities for both personal and professional development, within the organization. I've also noticed that opportunities for leadership do not always have to be actively sought out sometimes they come along by virtue of your intention to actively engage in interesting organizational initiatives.As for advice on leadership, it doesn't have to be complicated it can be found in the simplest of places, like on a bar of soap, 'Making the simple complicated is easy. Making the complicated simple is brilliant. -Ivory Soap.

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