Leadership is defined as an act or instance of leading; guidance; or direction.
This is such a vague statement; where to begin? If you want to be a good leader and practice good, effective leadership development and leadership skills, what should you focus on? I am going to give you my basic 3 components of where to start on your journey to developing excellent leadership skills and practices.
Listen – Listening might be the most important aspect of effective leadership. So many managers, supervisors, and so called “leaders” fail simply because they aren’t listening to their followers and understanding their wants and needs. How exactly can you lead a group if you don’t know where it wants to go? You may know exactly where you want to be but are you taking into account the group’s common goals and desired end states? LISTEN to people, it will prove to be a very effective communication tool.
Be Consistent – Being consistent, like listening, is pretty self-explanatory, but very important nonetheless. You will find that in school, often times assignments will be due on the same day every week or every month, etc… Or on a certain night of the week there will be online homework to submit. Don’t think that this isn’t done unintentionally. If the teacher were to change the due date every week or every month would he see no change, an increase, or decrease in assignments turned in? I would be willing to bet there would be a decrease. Now I don’t want you to confuse this with resisting change; change is NOT a bad thing. I’m just saying, if you’re delegating tasks and planning things, implement a consistent system of doing so. This will allow everyone to be on the same page and will eliminate confusion.
Take Responsibility for your Actions – It’s extremely easy to tell people what to do and how to do it and then watch them fail. What’s NOT easy to do is realize that failure is most often times directly related to your actions, or lack there of. If something isn’t working should you punish those who you are leading? Absolutely not. A leader realizes what is being done wrong and takes the responsibility for it and also makes changes in order to be more effective. The responsibilities of those you lead become your own responsibilities the second you assume the role of their leader.
Now this certainly isn’t all you need to know to get out there and become the greatest leader the world has ever seen. All I mean to do with this post is provide you with a starting point; building blocks if you will. These 3 points are intended to act as a foundation for your developing leadership skills.
Edwin H. Friedman once said, “Leadership can be thought of as a capacity to define oneself to others in a way that clarifies and expands a vision of the future.”
Guest post by Adam, Not Your Ordinary Intern