What Does Leadership Mean to You? | Ronke Lawal
It’s not all about you
Far too often people mistake leadership with management. Management is being able to organise work effectively and follow due processes and strategies to reach a target. Often this means that it becomes more about the manager as opposed to the team, which causes motivational issues and resentment in teams. An excellent manager is an excellent leader and can create an environment for active change that goes beyond ego-driven assignments.
Being a leader means remaining humble but bold! It is possible to be an exceptional leader without being a glory hunter.
Patrick Clarke OBE, Director of Network Operations at UK Power Networks taught me this in the midst of receiving his honour he received a high amount of praise and congrats.
Upon speaking to him he made it clear to me that his success was not about him alone, but about the team that allows him to remain passionate and motivated. His sincerity showed me that to be a great leader, one must not simply seek self-service but remember the benefits of the team.
Speak through actions
I am the kind of person who will not say I will do something unless I actually can. The most inspiring leaders lead through not only their words but through their actions. Even the most despicable tyrants will do what they say they will do and their followers will replicate their actions. It is so important that as a leader you are able to put your words into action. It’s not simply a case of leading by example, it’s about maintaining that example. It’s not a one-off act but a series of habits that cause a successful leader to maintain their success and ultimately drive an organisation forward.
The bottom line here being the achievement of goals, be they through profit-making or teamwork, simple rhetoric does not create landscapes for change, only action does.
Be honest about being honest
There is little point in trying to lead an organisation, a team or even yourself if you cannot be honest and open. Empires have been built on lies but they soon crumble with the truth, so building a foundation of transparency and honesty is crucial in leadership. The truth is not always pretty, in fact it can be downright harsh at times but it is always necessary. Some of the most inspirational business leaders I know have always re-iterated the necessity of honesty in business. This honesty is the foundation of their business practices and makes them navigators of leadership.
A passion for leadership goes beyond all of the above, simply because without passion there is no real foundation for success. In any area of life it is only through passion and a strong desire to do something that anything is ever really achieved. I love using my leadership skills to inspire and motivate others to do more and be better. It’s about pushing boundaries and encouraging others to take control of their own life journeys. It is not through sheer altruism that I state this; I do not have the passion purely to help others, it is also to help myself. In a world where life is so often seen as hard and negative, if I can instill some light in others through my own leadership, then I will have a better world to live in too.
Ronke graduated with honours from Lancaster University with a degree in International Business, She started her own business in 2004.
By the time she was 26 years old, she was running 3 businesses, RSL Management Services, Who’s For Dinner and Simone Williams (as a partner). Ronke is now the Chief Executive of the Islington Chamber of Commerce, a not-for-profit business membership organisation which represents SMEs throughout Islington and beyond.
She has always had a passion for business and is keen to share her experiences with self-motivated businesswomen. She is a trustee on a number of charity boards and in 2011 Ronke won the Precious Award for Inspiring Leadership. www.ronkelawal.com