Monday, 11 march 2019 | Redacción CEU
Without the figure of the teacher, a classroom turns into a playground. Any ship needs a captain who can guide the vessel to arrive at the right port. The members of a large orchestra cannot play with synchrony without turning their eyes towards the conductor's baton. In the same way, any company depends on a leader who is able to bring order to the organization, set the course and create unit in teams. The choice of the term "leader" is not trivial, since to exert an influence on employees, it is necessary to exercise good leadership, not just to be in command. Then, what does a professional need to become a good leader? What aspects are essential in the exercise of leadership?
A few days ago, The CEU IAM Business School held the conference "Let's talk about leadership" which had as its main speaker the head of the UME (Military Emergency Unit), Miguel Alcañiz Comas. Due to his professional career and his experience in different operational units, the Lieutenant General has accumulated deep knowledge of team management. In this conference, he examined through several examples, two fables and three letters, what the key points of good leadership are. Today, in this blog, we offer a summary of the main conclusions that were presented throughout this meeting.
The head of the UME pointed out that leadership is a complex subject on which many articles have been written, but it is necessary to be able to reach its soul to comprehend it: <<It is not necessary to be an expert or a guru to understand it, it is necessary to live it in the day to day>>. Although he agrees that today's leadership is not the same as forty years ago, the Lieutenant General, who has been decorated nationally and internationally, highlighted that the essence remains: <<Leaders are detected as soon as they make four movements: you only have to pay attention to their actions, and see what example they are setting>>.
A key concept in leadership is that it emerges from need. In a situation of crisis, the followers will feel lost and look for the leader who is the figure that points the way forward. Then, leaders will be in charge of managing gears in order to reach the goals. This context is not proper of a single sector, it is reproduced in different areas: in companies, politics, militia, medicine or the university.
Lieutenant General Comas used the fable Galgos o podencos by Tomas de Iriarte to illustrate one of the essential aspects of leadership: the identification and corresponding attention to what is primary. The head of the UME pointed out that this is exactly what does not happen in a company when unimportant issues are addressed at the beginning of the day, while the most important issues are left for the end, which is just when professionals feel more tired. Other vital concepts in relation to leadership are influence and biunivocal trust. <<If this relationship is not established, there is no leadership>>, he adds.
The Lieutenant General explained that a first approximation to the definition of leadership would be the following: "It consists of influencing people so that they are willing to achieve group objectives voluntarily". But beyond this description, he picked another one: "leadership is the art of transforming the tangible, acting in the intangible". Leaders should know how to handle intrinsic motivation, that is, the one that is not material. The head of the UME expounded that it is not a matter of money or material issues, but a matter of integrating people, making them feel good.
Paraphrasing the title of this conference, Lieutenant General Comas indicated that when we talk about leadership we are really talking about concepts such as influence, resilience (the ability to resist, overcome adversity and try to go further), credibility, example, authority (being able to make the right decisions and implement them), motivation (intrinsic motivations are more valuable than the external ones, and the transcendental ones even more valuable than the latter), trust, risk and communication.
The Lieutenant General, who is expert in leadership, concluded this meeting by inviting professionals to question themselves whether they identify more with the gazelles, which run away to prevent lions from hunting them, or with felines, which pursue them trying to ensure their own survival. Whatever their answer is, his advice is they must run: they should study, interact with people, innovate, fight, undertake projects, not surrender, change, become engaged, be creative and restless, have enthusiasm and hope and not resign themselves.
This article only serves as a brief summary of this unique conference. Those interested can watch the full video on our YouTube channel.
At The CEU IAM Business School, we are aware of the importance that leadership has in the promotion any professional's career, and, for this reason, we have designed our Executive Development Program (EDP). This training project is aimed at those professionals who want to continue growing in their companies or who have just been promoted and need management tools, who are independent professionals and are interested in continuing to develop their career and who are responsible for business units or departments and want to know the impact of their decisions on other divisions. With this training, all of them can acquire the tools, knowledge and skills which are necessary to achieve success.