Why is Leadership Important?
Sometimes, in the hustle and bustle of work, it’s easy for leaders to stop feeling valuable.
As leaders, we’re often not involved in actually doing the work. We coordinate it, check it, support it and direct it. This needs to happen, but sometimes it feels as if we are simply dealing with problems all day, instead of adding value.
It’s not uncommon to hear people say that there are “too many managers” or that leaders are a “waste of space” or “don’t do anything”.
If you hear these sorts of things too often when you’re a manager and leader, it can get you down.
So let’s take a step back and answer the question “Why is leadership important?”, so we can focus on the valuable role that we play as leaders in the workplace.
1. Leadership is Important Because Leaders Direct the Flow of Work
A lot of work goes on in our organisations and if it isn’t coordinated in a sensible fashion, we are surrounded by chaos.
Usually, leaders fulfil this vital role because they have a level of authority which lets them make the call on what work is important, and what can wait.
Leaders also communicate with other teams to ensure that work isn’t overlapping and to make sure other colleagues are getting what they need from your team.
2. Leadership is Important Because Leaders Manage Conflict
Conflict in a workplace is inevitable. And leaders are often the best placed to resolve it because they have a level of authority that can mediate between the two parties, and make a call about who is “right” and “wrong”.
When conflict arises between people in the workplace, someone needs to be able to break the deadlock. Leaders are usually best-placed to do that.
3. Leaders Provide Support
An often overlooked part of leadership is being available to support people. Sometimes it feels like meeting with team members is wasted time, because you’re not “doing” anything.
However, providing support and simply being available for team members is critical. Otherwise, team members feel like they are “going it alone”. Don’t underestimate the value of just being there for your team, even if it doesn’t feel productive.
Related: 6 Great Ways to Support Your Team.
4. Leadership is Important Because Leaders Make Decisions
In the workplace, decisions need to be made.
Decisions like “what’s the top priority?”, “how should we do it?”, “when should we do it?”
The best leaders go through a process to make decisions, including gathering feedback and assessing the potential options.
Then, they use the information they have and their previous experience, to make the call.
You need decisions being made at the right level in an organisation, otherwise people will feel like they can question them constantly.
Leaders are usually at the right level to be able to make the call and move things forward.
5. Leaders Set the Culture
Culture is important. Everyone participates in building the culture of a team or organisation.
However, leaders are in the position to be able to say what is acceptable, and what isn’t.
Remember that the culture is set by the worst behaviour that leaders are willing to tolerate.
Leaders are able to make the call on what they will accept, in their team and organisation.
Related: Putting a Stop to the Toxic Workplace.
So the next time someone says that leaders “don’t do anything” or wonders “Why is leadership important?”, or if you just need a pick-me-up to know why your job matters, these five points are your answer!
For more leadership articles, check out the Thoughtful Leader Blog.