9 Key Skills for Effective Leadership

June 14, 2016 by  

There is no question that successful leaders need to have many skills in order to be effective in their stewardship role.   Some people may argue about which one is most important.  So let’s examine some of the key skills necessary and then identify the one that is clearly the most important.

First let’s define leadership……

Leadership is the art of mobilizing others to shared aspirations. According to Warren Buffet it is: “The capacity to create a compelling vision and translate it into action and sustain it. Successful leaders have a vision that other people believe in and treat as their own.“

Leadership is about enabling individuals to work as a team, complement one another and find innovative solutions to organizational problems.

Leadership is a rather difficult quality to define and may, in fact, mean different things to different people. However, the key elements of good leadership would likely include the following traits.

Respect

A respected leader will be believed and his/her team will value his/her instructions and directions.

 

Trust

A good leader must demonstrate integrity and honesty. This element provides the best climate for information sharing.  It must be a two way street; the team must trust the leader and the leader must trust the team.

 

Vision

Without vision how can goals be reached? Only the leader with a clear vision of where his/her team is going will be effective in leading them to that achievement.

 

Self-Confidence

Self-confidence serves as the catalyst to decisive action and helps provide the ability to listen to all the options but not act or react only in self-interest.

 

Effective Communication Skills

It is imperative that the leader be able to clearly articulate his/her vision to the team with competence, sincerity, and understanding. This also means that the leader has to be both a good listener as well as a good speaker.

Enthusiasm

A successful leader must possess passion, energy, and commitment in his/ her vision and be able to impart that in a motivational fashion to the team. The leader must be able to encourage the team to embrace the tenets of their vision with fervor and excitement.

 

Feedback

Leaders must have the ability to reward their team members and the team as a whole, in appropriate ways. The leader must also be able to provide constructive criticism when necessary in a manner which will result in improvement rather than causing further deflation of the individual.

 

Reliability

A good leader must be a team player, be prepared, and do what they promise, in a timely fashion. They must set the example, “walk the walk not just talk and talk”.  They must exemplify the aspects of the company culture that they wish to have emulated by the entire team.  They must be willing to take responsibility for what they do and the mistakes they make.

 

Mentoring

True leaders foster, coach, nurture and ultimately develop new leaders. They help to open doors toward new opportunities and support their team members to reach their full potential.  Providing challenges and reachable goals and encouraging new ideas, will provide potential leaders with the role model and support system they need to perform at their best.  The future is brighter when there is young, vibrant, capable leadership in the making.

 

According to the Leadership Challenge, the 5 most valued traits of a leader are:

  1. Honesty
  2. Forward Looking
  3. Competence
  4. Inspiration
  5. Intelligence

 

According to a recent study by Global Knowledge, the most important skill for a successful leader is: Effective Communication.

The reason for this is because this ability allows the leader to establish trust, respect, and rapport with his/her people. It is the core element in developing, maintaining, and nurturing long lasting, meaningful relationships.  It is also the skill necessary to effectively articulate his/her vision for the organization.  Finally, active listening is the key to learning how to deal well with his/her people so that they can enjoy autonomy, mastery of their skills and develop inner and motivational purpose which will be beneficial to everyone and all their goals…… all of which will help to encourage the team to reach their full potential and find more challenges and opportunities open up for them.  It also allows the leader to hear the innovative suggestions offered by his/her team.

Good leadership is the cornerstone of every successful and long lasting business. Development of good leadership takes time, effort, commitment, and dedication, and is an ongoing process.  However, if you continue to improve it will certainly be worthwhile in the long run.

Any place where people work you will find enormous, untapped potential waiting to be developed, waiting to be unleashed!

This is the job of the Leader Coach.

“Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.” John Maxwell.

And finally…… “You have achieved Excellence as a leader, then people will follow you anywhere, if only out of curiosity.”

 

 

Are You an Authentic Leader?

January 18, 2015 by  

As a leader one of the most important traits you can employ is honesty and authenticity. Why? Because if your team is to trust you, they need to know that you do what you say and are who you seem. In order for them to believe in you, you must earn their trust and respect.
To do that you need to follow a few simple rules:
1. Listen actively to your team. Focus on their concerns and address them. When you truly listen to them they will feel respected and you will gain trust and rapport. In addition, a good listener will learn more because people will be more likely to share ideas and concerns when they feel they will actually be listened to.
2. Provide your team with the autonomy necessary for them to do their jobs their way….certainly some parameters and time lines may be necessary, however micro-managing is never helpful and can actually impede productivity and efficiency as well as harming engagement. The last thing you want to encourage is apathy so empower your team to make decisions and be creative.
3. Offer your team the opportunity to improve the skills they have and expand their skill set. This shows support and encouragement as well as offering future opportunities for advancement or an increase in responsibilities which can challenge them and increase engagement and loyalty. Happy employees who feel appreciated will be less likely to leave the job and will experience less downtime. They also tend be more innovative and productive….a win/win for everyone!

So how will your team know you are authentic?
1. Authentic leaders are self-aware. They are not afraid to show their real selves to their followers. Their behavior is consistent no matter the situation or the location. Finally, they don’t cover up mistakes rather they are accountable.
2. Authentic leaders are mission driven and focus on results. The goals of the organization come before their own self-interest. Those goals have been collaboratively created so everyone is on the same page and buying into the achievement of them.
3. Authentic leaders lead with their heart and their mind. They are direct and honest, yet empathetic. They are not afraid to show vulnerabilities to connect with their followers. They are accepting of the fact that we are all human and therefore mistakes are made…but those are opportunities to learn.
4. Authentic leaders focus on the long-term because they are strategic planners and big picture thinkers. That does not mean they do not set short term goals, it just speaks to the fact that authentic leadership requires the ability to have a vision and be able to clearly articulate it to your team. This type of leader takes the time to nurture his/her followers, which generally pays huge dividends in the long haul as it develops inner purpose in the employees who feel acknowledged and supported as well as listened to when they make suggestions or voice concerns.

If you can relate to the tips shared here, you are doing a great job! If not, at least consider employing these strategies with your team and you will be able to reap the benefits of authentic leadership.