Most of you might have wondered if people are born leaders or they acquire the leadership skills. You can be gifted with certain leadership friendly traits in your personality, however, it’s best when you acquire the skills and fine tune them to your advantage. There is no fixed time in your life where you can believe that now is the right time for being a leader. By honing your leadership skills definitely gives you the required confidence and know-how to be a good leader. Some of the ways you can build your leadership skills are listed below:
1. Develop your decision making skills: Being a leader you will realise that you constantly have to make decisions and most of them are decisions to be made under pressure. So it is important that you develop your decision making skills in order to be an effective leader. As a leader, you will be completely aware of emotional factors, monetary, physical, statistical factors that will nevertheless influence your decision making ability. Leaders have the knowledge about the right time, right people, right resources, and right way to go about making decisions. By making note of the various situations that you have had to make a decision, what was the basis of your decisions, what were the implications of those decisions and so on, can be a learning experience for you as you strive to be a good leader.
2. Leveraging opportunities: When opportunity knocks on your door you need to be ready to grab it and make full use of it but leaders go a step further and find opportunities for themselves and their teams. They look for hidden opportunities and make them fruitful for them. They are capable of creating opportunities and ensure that they get the maximum benefit without increasing the effort thus optimizing the situation, people, space, time, or event to the best extent possible.
3. Developing problem solving skills: The word ‘leader’ itself in indicative that the main purpose of the person who is known as a leader is to ‘lead’. And a great extent of this skill is tested when faced with a problem or issue individually or as a team. A good leader not only has to be a good problem solver by exploring the problem fully, planning the method of addressing, generating or finding suitable solutions, weighing the pros and cons of each options and finally choosing the best possible solution and implementing it. Problem solving leaders know how to identify problems, how to address them and take the initiative in resolving even hidden issues before they become serious and big.
4. The right leadership style for the right situation: There are numerous leadership styles and they are suitable for different situations, people and time. The most primitive form of leadership is the autocratic style where you, as a leader, have full power over your team/department. The team follows your instructions and have no freedom or right to voice their opinions or suggestions. Bureaucratic leaders follow the rules of the trade to the T. Processes are usually mandatory and help in situations where safety measures or precautions are involved. People oriented leadership focus on developing, supporting, encouraging people. Whereas, task oriented leader assigns tasks, follows up on them closely till closure, set structures and practices in place to be followed to ensure the tasks are done. So, while there are varied styles of leading, choosing which style fits which situation, at what time and to whom are the key decisions a leader makes and ensures these decisions bring success.
5. Using emotional intelligence: Emotional intelligence in a leader helps him understand his/her emotions and also those of others. Leaders are self-aware and this means they know how they feel at all times and use this understanding by extending it to the team members too, they know how their words, thoughts or actions impact other people. Leaders have empathy and care for others’ feelings. They look for balancing emotions of their own as well as others’ while they strive to be a great leader. Being an emotionally intelligent leader brings you success and appreciation.
6. Flexibility and adaptability: You need to be prepared as a leader to expect unusual or unplanned situations and changes. Adapting yourself and your team members to changes makes it easier to move forward in the face of obstacles. By being flexible you become strong and able to meet challenges head on. Being open to new thoughts and suggestions, attending to unanticipated issues and formulating strategies that get you closer and achieve success is one of the core skills of a great leader.
7. Leadership across cultures: One of the impacts of globalization is that people across countries work with each other from their respective countries or by residing in another country. Since cultures differ greatly, it is only essential and natural that leaders understand the various cultures and be sensitive towards people working together coming from different cultures. This helps bring out the best in the team too. Symbols, languages, traditions and beliefs are some of the key aspects that a leader should look into and if necessary even adopt.
8. Authenticity: Leaders see themselves as adequate, strong, fair, intelligent, compassionate, ambitious, driven, and goal oriented. Crisp, precise and clarity in thought and communication, and ethical values make a good leader. Leadership is not an easy role and many a times leaders find themselves in tough situations where trusting another person/people is crucial to progress but indiscipline and betrayals make it harder to play this role with full justice. Leaders do not lose their authenticity in such situations. Positive outlook, motivating the team, leading by values are some of the key traits in a good leader and this comes by consistent practice.
9. Example leads: Positivity, trust and goodwill of the employees will grow and build strong when the leaders practice what they preach. If they prefer preaching but end up doing things exactly different from what they say, the team is disappointed and this would affect the work. By doing the right things a leader affirms the commitment to the people and the organization. This motivates and inspires others too and hence the success rate goes up.
10. Develop more leaders: A true leader understands the need for people to grow into leadership roles. A leader identifies potential leaders, guides them, nurtures them and strengthens them. They develop visions for the company as well the people and work towards making them a reality. Creating new leaders explores the strengths in people and adds value to themselves, other people and the organization. By developing leaders around you, you prepare the organization to meet and accept new challenges and achieve success.