How to develop leadership skills? Is it a big deal? Improving communication skills. ability to motivate others, problem-solving skills, critical thinking, planning & organization, cognitive skills, listening to others, and ability to involve people are some of the key important competency for developing leadership skills.
Whether you are conscious or not, everyone in the world is leading himself or others on some level. But actual definition leadership is too complex to elaborate; here is one of the best definitions by John C. Maxwell about leadership is,
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”
It is worth to mention a few skills a leader must have are cognitive skill, learning skill, creative skill, critical thinking, adaptability, intelligence & wisdom, and capability to inspire others. Having these skills is the basic requirement to become a leader, but leaders are known for his or her action, and the quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.
How to Develop Leadership Skills?
Here we will explain step by step guidelines to become an efficient leader, before beginning it is worth to remember for a leader that our actions are the manifestation of our thinking, so think carefully before taking any action.
1. Analyze Yourself
A leader has to know the people he or she serves; he or she should know the need, interest, concern, and expectation of the people. The first step of understanding other is to know yourself; the step by step secret of knowing our inner-self is,
- Observe our thoughts & actions
- Analyze the reaction of thought and action
- Understand the capability, reality, and embedded message
- Apply the wisdom learned from understanding & experience
Consider these important questions to ask yourself:
- Why should I be known for? What should I stand for? What kind of leader am I? How do others see me as a leader? What value I have to deliver to the people I serve? What is my leadership type?
- What are my goal, expectation, and concern in working with a particular group? Is the goal conscious?
The difference between a leader and a follower is the leader always asks questions to oneself, but the followers may not. Asking question is oneself is the first path towards self-realization, but most of the people fail to do so.
2. Identify Areas of Improvement
Nobody is born perfect, but when we think we can make ourselves perfect, we must have to take action. As a leader, he or she must accept that learning is a part of my goal and I need to improve every day.
Ask these questions to yourself:
- Do I accept and appreciate others perceptive & opinion? Am I willing to try new ideas and new strategies for doing things?
- Am I able to communicate effectively? Am I willing to help others to perform their best?
- What are the qualities am I lacking to do things? Am I willing to learn and apply new skills?
3. Be an Active Learner
As a leader, he or she has to guide the people, helps the subordinates, and shows the path. You have to be aware of the environment, situation, resources and the development of your area of expertise. Learning fosters wisdom, wisdom results experience, and experience enhances effectiveness.
“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” – John F Kennedy
A business leader needs to know insight look at the industry he or she serves; he or she has to keep updated with the development around the industry. In the same way, a political leader should be conscious of the society, current happenings, and political turmoil.
4. Beef Up Your Communication Skills
Being a leader, he or she must have an effective listening skill, writing skill, reading skill, and public speaking skill.
As a leader he or she has to inspire the people, convince the people and involve the people toward fulfillment of the goal, and to do these things right, a leader needs good listening skills and public speaking skills.
For a leader, time and opportunity is the most valuable asset, a business leader or a political leader has to communicate effectively with subordinates or people via emails, written proposal or any kind of document, so, he or she should master the writing and reading skills to save time, deliver views and expression and gather information.
5. Practice Self-Discipline
Being a leader, you can’t make excuses, you can’t complain, but a leader is one who listens to others, take others complain and find a solution. The great virtues of self-discipline are honesty, wisdom, integrity, courage, compassion, generosity, temperance, persistence, and friendliness.
“Self-discipline is the ability to do what you should do when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not.” – Elbert Hubbard
A true leader is always known for his or her values, wisdom and empathy, the development of self-discipline makes a leader accountable to oneself first, and being accountable to oneself is the key to be accountable to others.
6. Know Your Team
Understanding personality dynamics and how different types of personality work together will enable you to utilize manpower effectively & efficiently. A leader has to recognize someone’s weakness and someone’s strength to set them to work together. A master leader reflects his or her own weakness and sees people who have different strengths as the indispensable contribution.
7. Encourage Enthusiasm & Sense of Belongings
A leader should encourage his or her subordinates, gives them credit, motivates them, shows friendliness, understands that everyone makes mistakes, bestows fairness among team member and shows that the leader is more interested in group goals than his personal goals.
“A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.” – Arnold H. Glasgow
A great leader let people know that he or she cares about their progress, shows genuine passion and enthusiasm towards the goals they work for and serves as a role model for the team.
8 Set a Clear Vision
A Leader’s vision is the reflection of his or her own wisdom, start investing in yourself, cultivate wisdom, and develop skills. A leader not only needs oratory skill, he should have efficient execution skill also.
Strategic planning, execution skill, project management skill, predictive analysis, problem-solving skill, delegation, and trustworthiness are some of the great virtue a visionary leader must have.
As a leader, he or she has to provide a clear vision to the team he or she leads, the team must understand why the goal the leader has set is valuable to them. Take time to explain them, improve them and use your wisdom to make it possible, if possible a leader should involve his or her subordinates in strategic planning.
9. Take Risks & Responsibilities
Humans take action based on thoughts, situation, or goal; the difference between taking action is, most of the leaders take decision consciously, whereas followers may not, but a leader should consider their opinion also. Being a leader, taking risks & responsibility is nothing but taking the conscious decision in every moment within the course of vision. If a leader is not confident enough to take risks & responsibilities, you can’t expect subordinates to follow the vision or the leader.
Taking risks is accepting a challenge, when people face challenges, most of the people find to way to avoid the challenge to be happy, but the leader is one who accepts the challenge, finds a solution and takes action.
Consider these questions to ask yourself before taking a conscious decision:
- Am I mentally relaxed enough to think the right at this moment?
- What are the resources required to execute the vision? Is the vision is realistic & feasible enough?
- What will be the empirical impact of my decision on the people I serve?
- How will the vision be executed? Is there any alternative way to achieve the goal? What is the best way to achieve the goal?
10. Learn From Failure
This may the last skill to mention, but this is one of the most important skills a leader should have. Taking risks and responsibility is to see failure, accept failure and bounce back from failure.
Learning from failure means to analyze the failure, understand the reason for failure, and take action. A leader’s depth of failure determines his or her height of success. A true leader never quits, he or she accepts failure, learns from it, and he or she may change the strategy, but never changes the goal.
Ask yourself these questions to learn from failure
- Why did I fail? What is the reason for failure? Where is the turmoil?
- What are the replacements for the reasons for this failure? How can we achieve through improvement?
- What are the possible ways to do this again? Are these ways are feasible enough? Are the resources having the competency for this strategy?
If you really want to become an effective leader, start investing in yourself from today. Leaders should make a habit to make habits, i.e. start developing new skills from today. These are the only few skills to mention, start exploring possibilities and knowledge around you.
Ashim, the Founder of MindWiper, loves to learn, share, and educate various dimensions of life skills development. After graduating with an engineering degree, he worked with major ICT industries in India and finally he followed his dream to integrate technology for Cognitive Skills & Life Skills Development.