3 Leadership Strategies that Have Endured for over 100 Years

When we talk about modern leadership it is often too easy to slip into the trap of thinking of effective business leadership as a modern idea. Although the leadership has come a very long way over the past 20 years discrediting the past as having golden opportunities to learn from is a dangerous trap to fall into! Over the last 100 years, every era has ushered in a new leadership focus for us, something that has pushed the expectations that went before them, and added its own twist or focus.

For example, the 1930’s transactional period ushered in a leadership strategy that focused on motivating efficiency above all else, with the aim of outproducing the competition. The 1970’s quality revolution lead to leadership strategies shifting to empower employees to make decisions about product quality, focusing on companies quality output more than anything else. Currently, in the last 10 years, organisations have moved their leadership strategy to encourage innovation, focusing on creating distinct brand images and offerings than the competition.

With all the changes we have witnessed over the last century three core strategies have stood the test of time, and as far as I can tell, they won't be going anywhere soon!

1. Credibility

Whether it’s a product, a business, an idea, or even a person, credibility is our primary interest in establishing trust when it comes to a lot of big decisions in life. In summary, where we put our love, trust, and/or money, needs to be credible. And the same foes for leadership. It is one of the top traits we look for from our leaders. Nearly every other trait impacts credibility, from honesty and competency to vision and strategy, our credibility plays a vital role.

Our careers have a massive impact on our livelihood, therefore it makes complete sense why the credibility of our organisation's mission, vision, goals and more need to be set in stone. This is why a leader's undivided commitment to credibility will pay off dividends for their organisation, their own goals, and the overall output of your team.

2. Futureproofing

It goes without saying, futureproofing your company is essential to establishing its long-term vitality. Though where leadership can sometimes get this wrong is when we try to inspire others with pragmatic reason, rather than a greater future vision when it comes to goals, strategy and mission. The key here is to craft an authentic future vision for your company and communicate it clearly and concisely, igniting that initial spark of passion in the hearts of your employees first. Don’t get me wrong, pragmaticism and reason definitely have their place, but only after your employees can grasp a clear vision that enthuses their heart. Once the heart is captivated then the mind can be stimulated.

3. Autonomy

The delegation of responsibilities is key for leaders to increase their potential impact. It makes sense. Though it cant be seen as purely a “win-win” situation, there is also a “cost-cost”. Let me explain. While leaders relinquish control and come to terms with handing over greater responsibility, employees must also understand and accept ownership and the risks that come with responsibility. Too many employees will happily take on the task without the responsibility. Its essential that this is communicated to your team, not only does it safeguard, but it also teaches valuable lessons in what true leadership is. Albeit, never stop delegating and enabling your team to grow, it’s a core part of being a leader!

Let me know how you plan put these three undying strategies into practice for your team. Are there any other core strategies that you can think of that have lasted the test of time?