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Leadership Skills

Leadership Skills

 

  1. Lead By Example. You can’t be an aloof leader, someone that’s never around and incapable of getting your hands dirty. One of the best ways to lead is by example – pitching in where needed, lending a helping hand, and making sure that the work you do is clearly understood by your team.
  2. Passion. A leader without passion isn’t a leader. He’s a paper pusher. Or a taskmaster. Or a government employee… Passion drives a lot, and you can inspire so much in others through your own passion and enthusiasm. That doesn’t mean you have to be constantly cheery, it means you’ve got to believe in what you’re doing and what your company is doing.
  3. Be Organized. A disorganized leader isn’t leading, he’s chasing his own tail. Disorganization breeds nothing but more disorganization. If you’re frazzled and messy, your team will be too. When you’re organized you’ll be much more productive and so will everyone else.
  4. Delegate. You can’t do everything. A great leader needs to be able to delegate effectively. The key to delegating successfully is giving employees ownership of the work you assign them. They can’t just feel like they own the work, they really have to.
  5. Take Ownership and Responsibility. Although you’ve just delegated work and truly given your team ownership, you also have to take ownership and responsibility at all times. Your team has to know you’ll be there for them through the good and the bad times. That doesn’t mean you absolve people from making mistakes or ignore crappy work/effort, but it does mean you take responsibility for the big picture.
  6. Communicate Effectively. Duh. Everyone knows great leaders have to be great communicators. But there are certain points of communication that many people forget. For example, it’s critical that you communicate to employees how their work matters in the bigger picture. Are they a cog, or does their work truly make a difference?

Communicating success is also something leaders forget to do. People need affirmation. They want to know they did a good job. You just have to tell them.

And be precise. Insecure leaders will often ramble; uninterested leaders cut things off to quickly. Whether you’re giving praise, providing constructive criticism, or defining goals and to-dos, you have to figure out how much to say and in what order. Be precise, specific and concise. Get to the point.

  1. Be Brave and Honest. Cowardly leaders will shy away from any number of situations that crop up regularly when running a team. The project your team has worked on for 6 months just got shelved. Now what? Or you have to talk to someone about their lack of effort recently. Do you ignore the problem? Or maybe it’s time to take your product into a new market. Do you hobble forward, scared and nervous, or do you grab the market by the throat?

Leaders are brave, And honest. Tell it like it is. Don’t sugarcoat, don’t obfuscate. Don’t be a jerk either. You have to learn how to present things to your team in an honest but balanced manner.

  1. Great Listener. A huge part of being a great communicator is being a great listener. If all you want to do is talk, you’re not a leader. Keeping people motivated means listening to them, asking them questions, understanding their issues. When you listen more, you can respond more effectively and get to the heart of things much faster.
  2. Know Your People. You have to know your people. You don’t have to be best friends or even socialize outside work, but you do have to know what makes them tick. You need to know something about their personal lives because their lives outside work matter. Their lives outside work drive a great deal of their success (or lack of) at work. Keep track of simple things: birthdays, marriages, children, etc. The more you know your people the more common ground you’re likely to find, the more you’ll be able to connect.
  3. Be a Follower. Benjamin Disraeli said, “I must follow the people. Am I not their leader?” That sums up many of the other points so beautifully. Great leaders are followers too. If you’re a leader without following, you’re a dictator. And as fun as that sounds… Being a leader-follower means finding value in your team, getting inspired by your team, encouraging your team to communicate, brainstorm and be open.

Very few people are great leaders overnight. It takes time and practice. As long as you’re open about learning along the way and working with your team on leadership versus dictating to them, most people will be happy to go on the journey with you.

Leadership skills come after a person has tested his waters. What I mean to say is he or she has understood and accepted himself or herself completely. Once you know what you can do and do well, you can build up on that while leading others.

Confidently Confident

An individual has to be confident, in any case. Yes, a person should have the confidence in his capacities and strengths. At the same time, good leadership skills warrant that a person will have to be mentally prepared if something goes wrong. In case of a managerial set up, an individual will have to delegate work accurately and quickly and hope for things to work out right.

Walk, Talk, Express

A very important skill amongst skills needed to lead people is interpersonal communication. If you do not speak or communicate with others, do not share your thoughts and views, how will you persuade and motivate them? Or at a very basic level tell them what to do? Likewise, a good leader also listens to others and considers their opinions and views just as they do regarding his opinions and thoughts. So the core of all the other things is effective and positive communication. This is a pillar amongst leadership skills for managers. Remember this as a crucial one regarding effective leadership skills.

All Fired Up

Oh no! I am not talking about gunshots. I am talking about the fact that for a person to become a leader, he needs to have a fire and passion for a thing. If a person aspiring to lead others is without a driving force, a strong desire himself, the leading is going to be a huge no-show. The reason? That individual himself is not motivated enough. In that case, that individual will not be able to lead others. So a passion and a strong urge to grow and help others grow, especially in the professional and corporate field is very important for leading others.

In an Instance

People or the followers or subordinates look up to the leader. Leadership qualities and skills, therefore, demand that an individual sets an example for others to follow. In fact by consistently doing that, a person can become a leader. A leader has to pitch in and set high standards and should lead by example. That includes behavioral traits like adaptability, humility, sense of humor and integrity.

Fortune Favors the Brave

A very very tough one amongst leadership skills is to be bold, brave and courageous. A leader has to be brave enough to face any kind of situation and cannot shy away from it. Such leaders know how to divide the work and they grab the problem by the scruff of the neck. Along with this, a person has to be frank and honest to take the responsibility and ownership of a project or anything. There are no shortcuts to this leadership trait!

Look and Decide

In leadership skills, vision and decision making are other to aspects which are inevitable. It is even more important as far as business leadership skills are concerned. Unless a leader has a vision, he or she cannot motivate the others and cannot take decisions regarding that.

Ultimately leadership skills are incomplete if a person does not know the people he is leading well. Hence a leader has to reach to the people and know them. A leader has to know what gets them up and coming and click at their work.

There are a few more things in the leadership skills list, but I guess without these the other minor ones would not count and would be inconsequential! Moreover, it is really difficult to define leadership skills definitely and pin point them. These are just generic skills one needs to have. All this reminds me of what Harry Truman had said, “To be able to lead others, a man must be willing to go forward alone.”

Effective Leadership Skills

For effective leadership & management, the leader needs to have quite a few qualities and skills. So what is it that makes a person an effective leader?

1. Vision: A leader is a visionary and this quality, more than any other, sets a leader apart from the followers. Followers blindly align themselves to the vision and goals of the leader and help the leader accomplish them. But without an envisioned leader, the team will be a directionless group.

2. Ability to Change: The external business environment is becoming more and more dynamic and a leader should be able to change with the times. He should be able to align his vision with what the market wants.

3. Set a Benchmark: A leader should be able to set a performance benchmark and be what he expects the employees to be. He himself should display the set of qualities which he expects from his team.

4. People-Skills: Whatever the monetary and non-monetary rewards, employees will only be really motivated to work if they know what it is that is motivating the leader. So a leader should be able to communicate the effective leadership strategies and his vision to the rest of the team in a way that the employees too feel that ‘yes! This is what we want too!’

5. Listening and Not Just Talking: A lot of employees complain that their boss doesn’t listen to what they have to contribute and is not open to suggestions. If the leader chooses to listen to what his team has to say, they may be able make valuable suggestions to make a process more effective. Hence, listening too is one of the most important practices for effective leadership.

6. Solving: The path to a goal is often strewn with traps and obstacles. Hence, a leader should have good problem solving and analytical skills which will help him and the team overcome any problem in the path to their goal.

7. Ability to Motivate Others: A leader should know how to get the work done from his team. He should be able to motivate his workers with monetary and non-monetary rewards. He should be able to make his team a part of his vision. A leader should be able to coach his team so that they can give their best performance.

8. Discipline: A leader should be well disciplined himself and should be able to imbibe qualities like professionalism and hard work in his team as well


Characteristics of a Good Leader

Leaders who have tasted success have done so because of the following reasons:

  • Confidence: This is one of the most important and probably the most visible characteristic of a true leader. I have always noticed that no matter what the degree of difficulty they find themselves in, strong leaders always have a sense of confidence and sureness about them. On a personal level, I have tried imbibing this aspect in my daily life and have found that it really works wonders! A super-confident leader can really make a world of difference.
  • Communication: Another key characteristic of a good leader; clear and effective communication, is vital for a leader to be successful. Effective communication will ensure that his team thoroughly understands what is expected of them. This translates into appropriate actions which in turn lead to desired results.
  • Man Management: A leader must be able to marshal the troops and manage his resources well. Leadership involves having a good sense of understanding between the leader and his team. Each person’s views and opinions should be respected and each one’s contribution should be acknowledged and appreciated. Being authoritative should not be confused with being dictatorial. A dictator may be a leader, but a leader is not a dictator.
  • Decision Maker: Leadership often involves split second decision making. A good leader must think on his feet and should be capable of making quick and smart decisions whenever the need occurs.
  • Lead by Example: A leader should always lead by example. Stepping up, shouldering responsibility and getting the job done when the chips are down, is the mark of a true leader.
  • Risk Taker: Last but not the least, leadership does require one to take a few risks every now and then. Let me make it clear though, that by taking risks I do not mean being foolhardy and reckless. Risks, when taken, should be taken in a calculated manner and after careful evaluation of the circumstances. It requires good vision along with clarity of thought and action.
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  1. May 20, 2013 at 11:55 am

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