Managing People, Time and Work

Good Leadership Skills that Give You the Edge

Good leadership skills encourage people to follow your vision. Who are the inspiring leaders in your life? Who have you wanted to follow at work or play? Which leaders make you want to part of the group? Have you ever left a group that was run poorly?

leader going through smoke and flamesLeading happens in sport, and the running of the local church or the family. How do we encourage people to do what we want? How do we get ourselves to exercise, lose weight or stop procrastinating?

Ultimately, we all lead someone at sometime. Developing good leadership skills can improve our lives, relationships and health.

We all have ideas about what a typical leader looks like or does. We have unconscious thoughts about how old they are and what sex they are. Our leadership stereotypes begin with parents and guardians.

We rarely update our leadership ideas. For some, the biggest obstacle to developing good leadership skills is their negative view of what it would take to be a leader. It is a decision about identity.

Self management

Research in a large accounting firm suggests that self-management skills can add about 78% in incremental profit. (1)

An effective leader needs control of their emotional states. Leaders without self-control find it hard to gain long-term co-operation. When a group has little power (such as children), it is usually easy to gain their compliance. Followers have little choice but to suffer a leader’s lack of restraint.

Optimistic, open leaders with a healthy relationship to power influence others more easily. Being effective requires commitment from followers rather than compliance.

What is commitment? Do you remember a time when you were committed to making something happen? There is energy and desire, you become one with the goal, and there are no excuses. If obstacles arise, you find other ways.

Another indicator of poor leadership skills is defensiveness. Outstanding leaders are not just open to feedback, but actively seek negative feedback. Learn to interpret criticism as empowering feedback.

Self Awareness

Of course, if you are not aware of your moods, values, strengths and motives, it is impossible to use and manage them. Self-awareness requires building a relationship with your unconscious mind.

Political and Social Awareness

One of the challenges I had was about “being political”. I saw working through networks as a time wasting and frustrating necessity. I saw going through “proper channels” as bureaucracy gone mad.

I didn’t appreciate the power of networks. I didn’t recognize the real value of diversity of viewpoints. I didn’t understand that the shortest route between two points is not necessarily a straight line.

Relationship management

Would you believe that social skills could add 110% to a business profit? (1) What do I mean by social skills?

  • Inspiring, persuading and influencing others
  • Getting on with others – Rapport is a vital skill set
  • Resolving misunderstandings and conflicts
  • Soothing ruffled feathers

Getting on with others requires behavioral flexibility. You also need openness to be influenced in return. Others must know you will listen with an open mind or they won’t bother. Persuasion, inspiration and influence doesn’t mean overt power. Do you remember a time when someone persuaded you to do or buy something? Intimidation probably had nothing to do with it.

(1) Quoted in Daniel Goleman’s The New Leaders (p326)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *