March 23, 2018 • 4 minute read • by Saeed
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” ~ John C. Maxwell
All leaders agree that certain leadership skills are must-haves in order to achieve the long-term results you desire. Here are the 5 that make my list in order of importance:
1. Managing People
Managing people is part of leadership, but it’s a part that may not come naturally to some. In almost every job, people skills are every bit as important as technical, or hard skills. Inevitably, this means managing people to overcome interpersonal conflict, helping staff with their own goal setting, time management, and collaboration challenges, encouraging staff to diagnose their own performance, and establishing a culture of accountability for the team.
In short, the best leaders know how manage people to bring out their best as individuals and as a collective unit in order to get the results they want.
2. Communicating Effectively
While technical skills are important, skills such as being able to communicate effectively are indispensible to you as a leader. We spend large portions of our careers learning the hard skills required to do our jobs, but relatively little time learning how to build effective relationships, communicate clearly, listen actively or communicate to persuade. These skills are critical to leadership and should not be seen as merely ‘soft’ skills.
In short, the best leaders use the full gamut of their communication skills to get the results they want.
3. Empowering People
The best leader knows how to make staff shine, by delegating responsibilities according to each staff member’s strengths and weaknesses. They use an effective delegation model because they know that a leader’s ability to delegate will have a significant impact on driving business results. This means knowing how to define the span of freedom and responsibility in executing tasks for direct reports, empowering with clarity, ensuring staff take personal ownership for delivering on commitments
In short, the best leaders know how to best nudge, motivate and deploy their staff’s strengths to get the results they want.
4. Leading Meetings
Leading effective and productive meetings is one of the most important skills a leader needs to have. This may seem like a superficial skill to focus on, but consider how many meetings are run daily in an organization and how many are in fact ineffective. Almost all meetings will be run by someone in a leadership role. You need to step back and consider how effectively organized those meetings are and look at the productive outcome. This means having the ability to engage people and knowing how to get everyone involved and participating in the meeting topic. It means managing meetings effectively, so each member is heard and getting to the main meeting points quickly. It means staying on time and on task, focusing on core objectives and limiting distractions, and perhaps most importantly, it means generating actionable results.
In short, the best leaders know how to hold productive meetings and use the format to get the results they want.
5. Managing Change
While you can’t know exactly what the future will bring, there is one thing you can train leaders to face: Change. Even seasoned leaders who may not be undergoing a complete culture transformation may be challenged by change management. These are difficult choices to make. How do you educate others about a change? How do you choose whether to try a different change tactic? How do you assess your own impact toward change? How, what and where do you communicate about the change?
The best leaders know that they must get everyone on board to share the same perception about the change effort to get the results they want.
A Final Word…
The Failure of the field of Learning and Development is not having taught people the bedrock principles about people, leadership and management. Yes, people are complex but at the same time, there is a ton of research about what works and what doesn’t. And as long as you apply the research and your own experience in a thoughtful and intentional way, you will get the results you want.
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