Melissa Weber

Thursday, 31 October 2002 10:25

Follow the leader

There is a great challenge in providing leadership in a world that is constantly changing.

But if leading is not your strength, don't despair. Leadership skills can be learned, says Dr. Debra A. Miller, vice president of corporate marketing and communications for Bank of America.

"Leadership is not another name for management," she says. "A strategic leader adds value as a counselor to the organization and, most importantly, to the employees of the organization."

A strategic leader views organizational goals from a broad perspective that includes an understanding of budgets, schedules, corporate and individual opportunity, and methods to motivate achievement.

"As strategic leaders, we should not focus on wielding power," says Miller. "We must focus on teaching empowerment, and even on being a good follower."

Miller recommends the book "Developing the Leader in You" by John Maxwell for an overview of the types of personal skills you need for professional development: positive change, problem solving, self-discipline and staff development.

"We must look at what has to be done, recognize the contributions that we can make and focus on our purposes and objectives," said Miller. "As leaders, we are not threatened by others with the strengths we lack."

Leaders must maintain a thirst for knowledge and an awareness of the industry they serve. And they need to understand their strengths and weaknesses, strive for creativity, focus on follow-through, build presentation skills, improve writing skills and understand business alliances and negotiation skills

"We are trying to do more with less," says Miller. "We must design programs that are measurable. I believe that 10 percent of a program's budget should go to measuring that program. We might think that what we're doing is great, but how do we know?

"Make friends with your marketing colleagues. Learn how to build measurement into the program while you're planning it. And don't forget you. To be truly successful, you need to also dedicate time to plan your own career." How to reach: Bank of America, (404) 607 5474.