Pick up any business literature these days and you will likely see reference to leaders and/or leadership. There is no doubt in today’s complex society and organizations the role of leader is critically important. Organizations, very often, reflect the thinking of what a particular leader demonstrates as being important.

Therefore, it is incumbent on every leader to “think about their thinking”, to examine the thinking that influences their behavior and how those thought patterns impact their organization’s culture. As Peter Senge points out, “An organization is a reflection of how its members think and interact.”

In this day of enlightened and well-informed employees, the “command and control” leadership style does not lend itself to fostering harmonious business relationships that are required for better business outcomes. Today’s employees need to understand what is expected of them and how they are to behave to achieve desired business results.

Behaviour modeling is a powerful force when influencing employees, so leaders need to be conscious of their own behavior because they are constantly being observed. Since this is so, as Albert Schweitzer once said, “Example isn’t the main thing in influencing others, it’s the only thing.”

Work is accomplished through relationships, which are enhanced by effective conversations. For this to occur, leaders must consider a variety of “soft skills”. Of the many required, five are essential, and they are:

1. Self/Other Awareness
2. Trust
3. Effective Conversation
4. Collaboration
5. Feedback

Even then, it’s not quite that simple. Each of these factors cannot be considered in isolation, but rather as part of a larger whole. If you want to promote a culture of choice for employees, consider the importance of leadership throughout your organization.