How to Develop Your Leadership Skills.

You’ve probably heard the saying leaders are born and not made.  Maybe you believe they come from their circumstances.  Dwight D. Eisenhower said “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”

There are those leaders with the best physical and mental capabilities.  Some come from their own need to have power and control others.  These keep their people in line by force or fear.  Just look back at the recent presidential campaign and you see both nominees trying to cause fear to win your vote.

They can arise from a group need and be seen as protectors.  These types of leaders may be appointed because of their higher spiritual values or wisdom.  In organizations they are specialists in getting things done,  those with the best management skills.  Their charisma makes them stand out as great communicators, or motivators but not all of these are leaders.  Many motivational speakers have nothing else to say and they all say the same thing, it is just rah-rah-rah with no substance.  Leaders understand that things are connected and to solve a problem you have to look at the bigger picture.

Leadership Starts With Your Vision

Getting people to work together to complete a task sounds simple enough but it is more of a process.   Leaders must inspire their team to accept their vision and direction.  This means you have to put the right people in the best place for them to succeed.  How do you do that?  Simply by giving people tasks that they excel in and not giving them tasks they have no skills in.

Your vision is the big picture;  it needs to be real and convincing so you can attract others. It is a glimpse into the future so you can see where you want to be.  Think of it as the foundation to your planning so you can set a direction assign priorities and measure results.  A leader focuses on the strengths of the team and applies it to the situation; it is how they assign tasks.

Seeing the big picture is just one part of having a vision, your vision needs to compel others to follow you.  It needs to make them see, feel, and understand so they can embrace it.  You have to paint them a picture by telling stories so they can see what the future looks like.  This will help them share your values so you can lead them.

Inspire Your Followers

Once you have your vision and painted the picture, you need to motivate and inspire your team.  It’s easy to do from the start, but when the initial excitement wears off then what do you do?  This is why it is a process, you have to keep your people connected to your vision.  It has to fit into their needs, wants, and desires.

You need to make them understand that work leads to results, which leads to success and rewards they can enjoy.  This is accomplished by showing the benefits of your vision to your team and customers.  Make it fun and engaging.  It is easier to do when you are an expert in your niche.  Being an expert you have instant credibility because you earned it.

People trust in expert leaders and will listen to them and they will follow these leaders when asked.   As an expert, it makes inspiring your team easier.  Think about when you go to the doctor and he says you need this.  Most people don’t question the expert they just go out and get what they are told because she is an expert.  Don’t try to rely on your charisma or power as a motivational tool too often because this type of motivation adds nothing of value to your team.

Managing The Vision

Planning your vision gives you the steps it takes to achieve it.  You need to keep your team in the right direction.  Yes you can do this yourself, but your time should be spent on the important tasks so you should assign managers to help you.

Having managers doesn’t mean that they are all team leaders.  A successful leader will always look for potential leadership in others so they can develop the skill needed for success within their teams. When having managers working with team members you want to make sure the tasks are given and understood.

You should give your team performance goals that help you achieve the vision and know that you may need to make some changes along the way.  When the need to make changes come up you need to make sure your managers know how to handle it.  The best way is to call your team leaders in and explain the need to alter the planning.  Once they understand they can make the changes with their teams for a smooth transition.  This will help you keep support from your team.

As a leader, you want to make sure that you match up members with their abilities so they can do their job.  You want to give members the best chance to grow and succeed so they can become leaders too.  Helping team members develop helps them achieve their goals and improves performance.  Having a good feedback and following up with team members will help you serve your team members best.

 

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By:  Moraima Buonafede

References:

What Is Leadership?, Mindtools, https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_41.htm

13 Leadership Skills You Didn’t Need A Decade Ago That Are Now Essential, http://www.forbes.com/sites/sprintbusiness/2016/10/21/5-tech-purchases-no-start-up-should-put-off/#25a0880b3723