In the first of my articles in this Leadership series, I explained the importance of self-awareness and emotional intelligence in being an effective leader. To develop as a leader, working on both is as good a start as you can get. So we’ll touch on that again here in this piece.
Tying in with this theme, I then encouraged you to be yourself in the second article on Authentic Leadership. People will more readily buy into the real you when you bring honesty and sincerity to your role as leader.
This, our third piece in the Leadership series, will help raise your awareness around what you feel are the core competencies of leadership. If you just want a list of leadership competencies, then feel free to Google it and scribble down some buzzwords. I’d encourage you to think about this for yourself, it’s a much better use of your time and brainpower.
To facilitate you in forming your opinions, think about leadership styles and approaches. It’s important to contextualise your thoughts in your own professional situation. You can then learn from your increased awareness and if possible, apply the learning. So take a few moments here and consider the following, just to get you thinking;
- Note down what you feel are the most important traits in a good leader?
- Once you have done that, think of some leaders from your career who have inspired you. How did they behave? What skills did they demonstrate? Or conversely, what was it about poor leaders which was regrettable?
- Now think of some famous public figures, from history, sport of commerce – what was it about their leadership that impressed you so much?
- Finally, ask yourself, what traits are natural and what can be developed?
No one is born a leader. I can’t deny that some people have a charisma that may encourage them to engage in leadership activities. These people might even be considered by some to have a head-start. But leadership (as well as entrepreneurship) is nothing more than a set of skills and techniques that can coached out of anyone, or to a certain extent taught to anyone, at any level in any business.
What do you believe about your potential as a leader?
Our beliefs directly influence our thoughts. And how we ‘think’ manifests itself in our results. There’s enough to unpack in those 2 statements for an entirely new series to be honest, so let’s just be clear on this. A belief is simply an idea or assumption that is deemed true because it is no longer questioned. If you believe you cannot lead effectively, your thoughts will be defined by that belief. You will approach leadership from a deficit or negative mind-set. As Henry Ford famously said – “if you think you can, or think you can’t – you’re right”. It’s my personal view that a good leader will be very aware of their own belief systems. You can agree or disagree, but give it some thought first. I’ll come back to it in the next part of the series.
Jim Collins is the author of, From Good to Great – a renowned book based on 5 years of research around what makes a good company a great one, the answer being great leadership. He ranks humility and self-effacing character traits as central to great leadership. Humility can give you an awareness that you don’t have all of the answers, which means you will listen to others and be interested in their opinion – you will be curious, you may even grow. And people like being listened to, so they might be interested in you……what do you think?
What’s important is to develop a view about your own leadership style and competencies. Ghandi and Steve Jobs couldn’t have been much more different in style – whose style was ‘better’? Which competencies were/are more valued? What role did their following have to play in their style? Or what way does their style influence their following? There’s no right or wrong. But asking and answering these questions will help you be more aware of what style of leadership you are suited to. What do you do well? Where do you need to develop?
These last questions and their answers will help you develop. So please do give them thought, and if you find answering them tough, then persevere. Because that’s a very common trait in successful leaders!
If you are interested in developing your leadership skills or are interested in learning more about Executive Coaching with Jasper –