There’s no doubt that some people are natural born leaders today. But, anyone can develop the skill set needed to both be considered a leader and help lead others in the process. You don’t have to be an extrovert, and you don’t have to excel at public speaking. If you want to acquire leadership skills that benefit yourself, as well as the people around you, then these “soft” skills can be learned through dedication and practice.
I just want to say for the record, I didn’t always believe in the importance of leadership because I had seen so many individuals abuse their role or position, or misuse influence. Also, there were so many times that I thought being a leader meant that you had to be boring. What I have now learned, is that the ability to transform other’s lives in a meaningful way isn’t boring, but it is essential to our evolution as a society. I realized the importance of leadership when it was brought to my attention that I too was a leader. Simply put, leadership is influence; and, whether or not you want to be a role model or an example to others, face the facts you likely are.
This article today is written for those that are in the position of leadership but haven’t yet achieved the mindset necessary to take them to the next level in their leadership journey. I want to encourage and inspire you today. Rather than dreading your position of responsibility you can be inspired by what you are doing!
I’m going to discuss three spheres or characteristic qualities of effective leadership that will help you to: 1) get a handle on leading, 2) help you cultivate a culture of leadership, and, (3) set a foundation for sharing with others and adding value to others as you advance in your leadership journey.
Below I will address critical points in the arenas of: (1) Developing Leadership Skills; (2) Benefiting Others; and, (3) Pathway to Moving Forward.
Developing Leadership Skills
- Discipline: The first skill you need to identify and practice is discipline. An effective leader needs to be disciplined, whether it’s in their personal or professional life, to be effective and to inspire others to follow a disciplined schedule as well. People model what they see, and if you’re showcasing incredible discipline, whether it’s with your work ethic or commitment to an organization, other people will take notice.
- Up the Ante: If you want to be an effective leader, someone who is regarded above the competition, you need to show people that you’re worth more than the title. As John Maxwell shares, leaders can be positional, but a transformational and effective leader has the permission of their subordinates to lead. This comes from established credibility, consistency, and modeling respectful interactions. One way to maintain and establish credibility is to maintain a participative presence with your team, showcase your multi-tasking talents, and assume responsibility where needed. Your team comes to know and respect you both by your ability to deliver, and, to over deliver.
- Learn When to Listen: A great leader is someone who realizes when they don’t always have the answers. An essential leadership ingredient is being able to listen to others and recognize when you are not the expert. Collaborative communication needs to be referenced each time you make a leadership style decision. You are not an all-knowing and all-powerful being. To improve your leadership credibility, show others that their input and contribution is greatly valued.
Leaders conduct themselves in a way that inspires employees to develop the desire to do better and to put forth effort to reach their maximum potential in the workplace. Part of effective leadership is realizing the importance of “sowing seeds that benefit others” as John Maxwell says. Effective leaders are to be a “river and not a reservoir.” Therefore, effective leaders maintain an intrinsic desire to make significant personal and collective contributions and achievements to those whom they influence.
Some important ways this can be accomplished is by:
- Motivating and Inspiring Others: A critical leadership role is the ability to motivate and inspire others. Effective leaders know how to spot the positive qualities of those whom they influence and develop these qualities on an individual basis in order to help them reach their maximum potential. An effective leader inspires by being able to involve the individual in the vision and mission. Followed, by continuing to inspire, motivate and encourage others to grow within their own capacities by identifying qualities and traits to be nurtured and developed. Additionally, effective leaders take the time to be intentional in sowing into others by taking the time to foster a sense of community and growth by sharing experiences, opportunities, and activities.
- Support: Effective leaders are supportive. They are able to take a step back and provide compassion and support to those in need when they need it. As a leader, during bad situations, people will look to you to assuage the group and provide solace. Be sure to remain calm and act as a reliable figure for everyone. Be their supportive light.
- Education: An effective leader never stops growing and understands the importance of growth for those whom they influence. Constant education is critical to personal growth. For the effective leader, growth is the standard, and this model of leadership continues to cultivate a culture centered around growth for those whom they influence. By doing this, we learn to establish growth as a necessary part of the journey towards achieving success in our personal and professional lives As we continue to grow we inspire, and motive others out of the spirit of comfort or complacency that can rob you of your ability to reach your ultimate maximum potential.
Pathway to Moving Forward
Cultivating and managing effective leadership skills is a constant process and evolution that challenges the individual. To find value in the process one must believe that the journey is the prize, and that the goal is not a destination. Enjoy challenging and stretching yourself to new limit. Don’t let yourself get complacent. Continue to check yourself, consult others, practice discipline, and give your time and attention to those in need.
Lastly, if you concentrate upon the effective impact of your leadership rather than obsess about the tasks of leadership you will find that the value of what you are doing will surpass your tenure. Additionally, the legacy that you leave as a leader will lie in the values that spur innovation, and cultivate a culture of enjoyment and creativity for those whom you influence.