Developing Critical Leadership and Managerial Skills
Most leaders won’t have landed in a leadership position unless they already have a suite of skills that others think make them ‘Leadership material’. However, it is rare to find someone who already comes to the position fully formed as a leader. Part of the challenge of leadership is to continue to develop core skills while you are expected to produce results. These skills include such things as time-management, problem solving skills, strategic thinking, high level communication strategies and building relationships.
Developing, Motivating and Inspiring Others
Sometimes leaders can get stuck in the day-to-day minutiae rather than focusing on those around them. Great leaders develop other great leaders in the process.
Building and Leading a Team
Sucess depends on your capacity to attract, develop and retain great people. A leader’s success is in many ways dependent on the team that supports them. Knowhing how teams operate and evolve, and how they respond te leadership, is essential.
Leaders must understand that change is part of leadership. Leders must also understand the nature of change and be able to guide the change process. Things will change one way or another – leaders need to guide it rather than react to it.
The leader needs to manage relationships, not only between individuals, but also between levels, teams and stakeholders. They must have a feel for and an appreciation of people and how they operate.
Balancing the needs of the organization and the needs of people
You can’t succeed if you don’t pay attention to both the organisation and the people within it. People need to feel cared for and supported with the necessary resources to do their job well. Equally, a leader must be able to communicate vision, values and direction that gets buy-in from their people.
One of the neglected aspects of leadership is the development of the leaders as a person. Leaders should seek to understand what drives them, makes them tick and what has them taken care of. Central to this is having a clear sense of their purpose.
There are many demands on a leader’s time and it is too easy to become distracted by tasks that may not be the ones you ought to be attending to. There are many time management tools available for leaders to plug in to, but one of the best is one of the oldest. Stephen Covey’s Time Management Grid is on of the most powerful tools precisely because of its simplicity. All our tasks can be categorised on one axis of urgency and another of importance. Simply spend most time on what is important and not just urgent, and the least time on what is unimportant and not urgent, and you will manage you time effectively.
We cannot grow as leaders and as people if we do not receive feedback on how we are performing. This can be a real challenge for leaders. Many people who operate under a leader are reluctant to give feedback and peers often don’t see it as their place to. A great idea is to put in place a system of 360 degrees feedback, where the leader actively seeks out feedback from below, sideways and from above.
In many ways, Emotional Intelligence combines and addresses several of the challenges above. To have emotional intelligence is to be self-aware, be able to self-regulate, to have social awareness and to be able to influence others ethically. It’s all about knowing your strengths and challenges and how you contribute to the outcomes of different situations