A leader is someone who not only has the ability to see the bigger picture, but who also has the wherewithal to inspire, motivate and encourage people to join hands and collaborate to achieve success.
A leader adapts and is always seeking to evolve. He is humble and has the courage and sincerity to admit what he doesn not know as well as learn anything he must to succeed. As John F. Kennedy once said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other”. Any leader who thinks he knows it all and has seen it all and is through learning is going to lose his effectiveness and strength. For a leader to be a strength to his people through time, it is important to be open to learning, improving and growing. Enhancing your existing leadership skills is essential to stay with the times, and ahead of others.
How to Enhance Your Leadership Skills
Self awareness, strengths and weaknesses
Everyone has a unique set of talents and strengths that have been developed over time.To be an effective leader you must be self aware; you must know your strengths and weaknesses. Once you know you strengths and weaknesses you can begin to develop your weaknesses and add to your overall arsenal, which wiil help you to become a formidable leader.
With self awareness, also comes humility and the reliazation that no one is perfect. The most successful leaders know that the key to success is not in avoiding falling or failing, but to learn from their mistakes.
Be true to yourself. Although, reaching the goal is important, the means and the journey will test your character and tempt you into going against your morals and ethics. One of the biggest mistakes leaders make is to try to ignore their own morals, values and set of ethics in an attempt to move forward or adopt new practices at work. Remember, as a leader you must focus on the future, but you cannot do so at the cost of your own conscience. It is essential to make choices that are in tune with your values so that you are never at loggerheads with yourself.
Often one may find oneself in a position where a situation demands that they make a compromise between what they believe to be right and what they are being coerced into doing – it is important to set an example at such times and stand up for your what you think is right, even if the desicions is not in your own self interest. Leaders make the hard desicions. Integrity is key to being an effective leader, and it makes an already tough road much smoother!
Serve as a role model
Walk the walk and talk the talk. If you expect people to behave in a certain way, rather than lecture and impose your views on them; it is more benfecail to serve as an example. Let your behaviour and personality do the talking. As a result, group members will admire you and might try to emulate you.
Have a clear perspective and vision
Take time to develop your vision. Developing clear vision involves clarity of perception which means to see things for what they are, without any added flavour. When you see things clearly, you will know exactly what is required and what plan of action to implement. Your clarity of perception will function like an eagle’s view whereas other people will only be able to see what is directly infront of them,
Plan and prepare
Learn to plan and prepare well inorder to execute your vision. Structure your plans to include short-term as well as long term plans. When it comes to succeeding in business, you cannot hope for success if you want to wing it or play it by the ear. You must prepare well in advance to be able to perform well when the time comes.Learn to prepare for all possible aspects, divide your goals into realistic milestones and create a specific, outlined map of the journey ahead.
Take time to develop a strong resolve and balamce within yourself. Be enthusiastic about developing your resolve. Look for ways to keep yourself inspired in the face of whatever tragedy or misfortune comes your way, so that you can inspire and motivate your emplooyessor team when the time comes This is where your resolve will tell you to take a step back and re-evaluate. Moreover, would you look to someone for guidance and leadership if they “flew off the handle at the drop of a hat”or did not truly care about the goals of the group? Of course not! Great leaders are not just focused on getting group members to finish tasks; they have a genuine passion and enthusiasm for the projects they work on.
Listening is key
Recognise that inorder to lead one has to learn to listen. If there are unhappy or disgruntled people in your business, you can guarantee that at some stage they’ve tried to tell you what the problem is. It’s likely you weren’t listening (or didn’t want to listen), or perhaps your initial reaction made the person think twice about bringing the problem to you.
Encourage creativity and participation
Invest energy to get to know the people who work with you. Although, you might have the last say, respect different opinions and encourage the participation of your employess. Pay attention to details, even the smallest efforts such as remembering each team member’s name, asking after there families, remembering a birthday or passing a compliment about the work or otherwise can make all the difference.
People skills and the tough call
Everyone is different, what works with one person, will most definitely not work for another. With some people, a little firmness is required, but even this can be resolved in a smooth manner. The person or people in question should be dealt with in private and not out in the open. Over time, is more effective however, to observe and deal with any situations as they evolve rather than when it is too late.
Let History Show You The Way Forward
There is as much to learn from own past as there to be learnt from the leaders of the past. Whether it is through the works of Mahatma Gandhior the speeches of Nelson Mandela, or the grit and genius of Steve Jobs, one can always learn a skill from watching other strong players. The successes of other great achievers, as well as the failures they overcame to get to those successes can be an illuminating way to learn.
Even if you are only running an organization or a team within an organization, studying the decisions of acclaimed industry, political, social and religious leaders from around the world can help you enhance your own strengths, as well as adopt new ones. Zero in on common leadership traits and model your own leadership style after that of history’s greats, and one day, you might be remembered just as vigorously.