In a recent search to define how many leadership skills there are to choose from, I located a list of 101 to check off to be a great leader. OUCH! Seems a bit overwhelming. While some are checking there list off to become the best leader, I have narrowed my focus to 5 skills that, when practiced in every aspect of life, you may find yourself being a great leader. First let’s define leadership.
In my definition it is helpful to start with what it is not. A position, hierarchy, or title does not define leadership. When someone has elevated to a position of CEO, Director, or Manager it may be because they achieved certain goals or productivity levels and may not reflect how they lead others to achieve those goals. Some of the greatest leaders in organizations do not hold high level positions or titles. Sometimes the unassuming people in organizations are great influencers who help lead organizations and their people to greatness. Leaders don’t necessarily need to be charismatic, domineering, or extroverted. How often have you been influenced or lifted by a quiet, calm, and steady leader? It is their ability to stay the course when things get tough, and help their people stay calm, thoughtful and respond in a positive way, that highlights their leadership.
My definition of a great leader… “those who first lead themselves to become their best self, and then are able to influence others to achieve the same. Collectively they maximize the efforts of all, to achieve a common goal. Great leaders foster great leaders.”
The skills needed to be that influential leader can be defined in these 5 areas…
“Communication is the response you get”. I adopted this definition of Communication in my Coaching Certification training. When a great leader is communicating well, their message is understood at every level within the organization. The personal work for the leader is to listen for the response, and if the message is not clear then revise, adjust, and communicate in a way that allows the entire organization to be in alignment with their message.
“A person authorized to act as representative for another”. Moving from a manger to leader can be one of the greatest personal challenges for evolving leaders. Strong leaders let go of the duties they held and set their subordinates up for success through delegation. When the employee is trained well and the pathway to the employee’s own success is communicated well, the leader can trust that the job will be done in the manner that has been previously established. The employee is empowered to take on new roles and help the company by improving the role that they currently hold. Moving into a leadership role does require strong management skills to assure the transition process is complete. It’s a balancing act. A strong leader takes their people with them on their growth path. When you grow, your team grows.
You trust your team; your team trusts you. When a leader is trustworthy the team responds with loyalty.
Strong leaders understand that their team is always watching them to see how they direct and lead them. You are the captain of the ship and your team needs you to be the person they count on to lead them and that you won’t let them down. Trustworthiness shows up in the way you think, the words you use, and the actions you take. Consistency in who you are, how you present yourself, and the manner in which you represent the company values and culture to the world is imperative in leadership.
Your team counts on you to be honest and they know they can be honest with you. A respectful process of communication is established that allows feedback. Strong leaders need their team to be honest. They see the team as being their eyes and ears in the organization and outside.
Strong leaders take on the responsibility of caring for the entire company; their people, customers, and the health of the business. They make decisions based on all factors. They are often called to make very tough decision in order to sustain the entire organization and it’s mission. When a leader can communicate their corporate responsibility in a compelling way, the team adopts the same care and responsibility for their role within the company.
“Stay committed to your decisions but stay flexible in your approach” Tony Robbins. The one thing we can count on in life is that things will change. Sometimes outside influence forces the change, sometimes change comes from leadership to improve internal processes or goals. A strong leader is flexible and adaptable. They steer change and respond in a way that enables their team to face and adapt. The leader and the team use change to better their approach and serve the market in a better way.
By focusing on these 5 skills, great leaders emerge. Practice daily in life and business and witness the change.
“Life is Short, Make It Sweet”.
To learn more about Laurie and how she coaches individuals to their own definition of success, visit http://www.nowandnext.co/coaching-process/