Some say great leaders are born, not made. And while there are some born leaders, many more have honed their leadership skills through extensive practice. So, if you’re not a born leader, but want to learn how to be, this article will show you what you need to do to become the most effective leader you can be.
What Skills Make a Leader Stand Out From the Crowd?
- Great leaders learn every day – from everyone
- A leader is an effective listener
- Leaders embrace the past when planning for the future
- Leaders help everyone feel like part of the solution
- Leaders are optimistic and model positive behaviour
The primary characteristics of workplace leaders are:
- Credibility: Leaders are trusted and respected because their judgment and skills are trusted and respected.
- Creativity: Leader creates new concepts and new methods of doing things. Their skills bring efficiency and depth to workplace operations.
- Organizational skills: All leaders are excellent organizers. They create the operational schematics for their work.
- Time management: Good leaders anticipate situations, and prepare in advance. They create reliable schedules for completion of tasks, and usually beat deadlines with ease.
- Planning skills: With creativity, organizational skills and time management come excellent planning skills. Leaders work on both strategic (big picture) and tactical (operational) planning levels, producing integrated workplace systems.
Find out what’s your leadership style
Understanding your current leadership style is essential. What are your strengths? Which areas need some improvement? Are these qualities helping or hindering your leadership? Once you’ve determined which areas need some work, you can begin looking for ways to improve your leadership abilities.
Don’t be afraid to communicate with the leaders in your company–honestly and collaboration are the keys to success.
Show respect to those around you
Even when you don’t feel like it. When you show respect to everyone you interact with, you foster an environment of caring that permeates the workplace. It encourages your employees to treat clients, co-workers and subordinates with the same respect they’ve seen you model.
Effective team leaders know how to share leadership through delegation. Delegating certain tasks to trustworthy team members allows the leader to focus on improving workplace functions and production.
Dress to influence
Don’t dress to impress, dress to influence. Make sure your appearance is consistent with your personal and professional brand. Begin by asking yourself how a leader with your aspirations should appear to others.
Build relationships with senior people
Engage with people above you. As you build relationships with executives, you’ll increase your confidence. Don’t be intimidated by their title or influence. It’s important to see them as equal and to recognize the value and benefit of having them as advocates supporting your career.
Effective team leaders possess exceptional organizational skills. Organizational skills help team leaders plan objectives and strategies, which allow team members to perform optimally.
Listen, then speak
Effective listening takes practice, but the difference it makes to the people you lead, your customers and your supervisors, can be impressive. For employees, knowing their leader is listening can serve as an instant morale booster, customers who feel heard can spread the news about your company’s great service, and upper management will be able to see a difference in your team’s productivity.
Know the industry
You should know the industry trends, major players, marketplace and other relevant information for the industry in which you work.
A leader has to have some ideas about change, about how the future could be different. Vision then is based on two components that leaders also need: creativity and intellectual drive.
It takes a lot of courage to go against the crowd. It takes a lot of courage to be a visionary. It takes a lot of inner strength to do what you think is right even though it may not be easy. We live in a world where so many people walk the path of least resistance. Authentic leadership is all about taking the road less traveled and doing, not what is easy, but what is right.
Show passion for your work every moment of day! In this way, people around you will feel more motivated to contribute to the company’s progress. Passion is what it takes to really create good things and grow a successful business. All the employees will try to follow your example, and in this way, the company will increase its productivity.
A leader cannot achieve success alone. The old notion that a leader is “the top of the pyramid” is false. An effective leader is involved and in touch with group members. He/she enables them to act by providing technical assistance, emotional support and vision.
Effective leaders insist on the support and assistance of those affected by the project. They think in terms of “we” not “I.”
Be a Mentor
Being a mentor to an intern or entry-level employee is not just beneficial to them — you’ll be encouraged to learn and know enough about your industry in order to guide them with ease. As Albert Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
Learn to communicate better
A good communicator should not only speak clearly and with confidence, but must also be a good listener. Here are a few tips to speak with confidence and clarity:
* Prepare what you have to say
This includes thoroughly researching your subject manner and outlining your speech.
Practice your speech in front of others if possible. It might also be useful to take a public speaking class.
* Know your audience
Tailor what you are going to say to your audience. Make sure you make it clear why this speech matters to them. Also, know what they want out of a speech – do they just want you to hurry up? If so, keep it short.
* Visualize your success
* Make eye contact with your audience
* Act confident, even if you are not
* Look your best
* Be a good listener
Remove “old way” thinking
Beware of the words “We’ve never done it that way” or “that’s the way we’ve always done it! As a leader your job is to break new ground, find new and more effective ways to solve problems. That’s one of the reasons you were chosen to lead.
Maintain a positive, focused determination in pursuing a goal or vision, despite the obstacles.