No one is born as a leader, however leadership skills can be acquired over time. It is possible to develop the qualities that make up a successful leader. It is a well-known fact that true leaders are never satisfied with their own selves and are always on the lookout for opportunities to grow. In order to improve leadership skills, it is necessary to concentrate on a few specific areas.
Many books have been written on the subject of leadership but most of them are too deep and are unable to clearly communicate the main principles required for effective leadership. When the subordinates work in tandem with no specific agenda, there is no fixed limit on the level of success. It is the responsibility of the leader to maintain a suitable atmosphere that is conducive to the growth of the institution.
Vision: the Mark of a True Leader
No doubt that every leader must have a follower. In order to follow, the followers first need to be aware of where they are going. Only if the leader possesses a clear vision, can he explain it to the others.The followers must be galvanized by the vision of their leader and feel motivated to assist him in making that vision a reality.
Every one of the followers needs to be involved in the process of development. This will enable the leader to focus on the method of achieving that vision. Strategy is not likely to be of much use unless there is a clear vision of the future along with the means necessary to reach there. It is in this case that the concept of values comes into play. A particular set of values acts as a foundation that all followers need to embrace in order to make the decision-making process much simpler and point out the right direction. If the vision is compatible with the values, the leader can proceed; if not, progress is hampered.
Communicating the central values and vision is important on a regular basis since it will turn out to be a driving force in the future.
Attitude of the Leader and the Impact
Attitudes can have long-lasting impact. The attitude of a leader will be reflected on his followers; if negative, the followers will feel depressed and if positive, the followers will be happy by the attitude of the leader. So, no matter what the situation, a good leader should always consider the impact of his response. Leadership is mostly about influence. Every leader is bound to influence his followers in some way or the other. Most leaders should try and influence people in the direction of their vision. The way in which the leader conducts himself lets the people know whether they can count on him or not. They find faith to believe in him. Their belief in the leader is even more strengthened when they witness that what the leaders says, he actually does. Maintaining a good attitude helps build respect, trust and plausibility between the leader and the follower.
Hard Work Always Pays Off
This may seem to be some kind of a cliché but there really is no alternative to hard work. Most of the successful leaders never slacked off – they worked hard in the beginning, the middle and the close of their career. Many have been known to come to work early and leave after almost everyone else. Not surprisingly, extra responsibilities have been entrusted to them. Leaders have always welcomed task forces and special assignments. They have never searched for shortcuts and have never tried to push challenging work in the direction of others. And, in the end, they have been rewarded for their diligence, tenacity and patience. This just goes to show that hard work is the basis of a successful leadership.
But in the course of hard work, even leaders should make time for some fun. This will not only boost his popularity with the followers but also bring them closer together. Leaders should keep an eye out for any opportunity that fosters a sense of support and family. Building an environment that people actually enjoy will ensure that they feel good about coming in every day and making a contribution to another person’s future.
Balance is the key. Most successful leaders seem to be single-mindedly focused on their profession. But beneath that layer of resolve and determination, lies a person who has other interests in life. Sometimes, one area needs to be shut off completely in order to focus on the other. But these instances are rare and good as leaders always come up with ways to juggle their personal and professional life.
Develop with Time
To crown it all, leaders are widely expected to facilitate positive change. Even if one is not the inventor or the creator, it is necessary to give proper recognition to and support bright ideas. Instead of worrying about whether they came from him or not, a proper leader considers whether the status quo has been challenged or not, or whether it is now the right time to experiment. There are some leaders who suffer from the notion that they possess all the answers they could possibly want. But successful leaders never put a stop to the process of learning, especially from mistakes that have been committed by them. In order to learn, a leader should maintain an open mind, explore and listen.
Knowledge: the Key to Success
True leaders not only possess knowledge about their respective field, they are also aware about the important skills, behaviors and attribute that make up a successful leader.
They understand and appreciate the divide between management and leadership. They are also aware that this knowledge happens to only be a point of beginning; in order to realize how a true leader works, knowledge must be applied. Real leaders should be aware of their followers. They need to understand their source of motivation and de-motivation and then apply it accordingly to their relationships. Good leaders need to adapt their style continually in order to suit the needs of their followers along with the requirements of the task at hand. Knowledge may equate to power only partially; it is just potential power until the time it is applied with integrity and humanity.
Connect and Conquer
Leadership skills benefit from emotional intelligence and authenticity as well. When leaders encourage others and demonstrate that they really care about their followers, they draw them closer in spite of obstacles and challenges. Communication also helps leaders to become more powerful by empowering others. Great leaders help others develop their full potential - nothing to sneeze at.
Every single person commits mistakes and meets with disappointment. Successful leaders in varying fields of government, business and the professions are aware of their shortcomings and accept them fully. They are quick to learn from the mistakes they have made and move on. Those individuals who linger on mistakes or are extremely cautious and rarely make missteps do not have the potential to turn out to be great leaders.
Choosing the right example of a successful leader happens to be something of a dilemma nowadays. It is hard to decide whether to concentrate on previous industrial giants, CEOs and, political leaders, or to focus on reputed leaders from military history. Future and current leaders can gain an insight into how they can transform themselves into better and acclaimed leaders.