lundi 11 novembre 2013
BUILDING YOUR LEADERSHIP SKILLS : WHAT TO DO…
There are many myths about leaders, one being that “leaders are born and not made.” The truth is, several factors contribute to the development of a leader. Obviously, the leader’s personal qualities are important, but also critical are the needs of the people being led and the objective they are pursuing. Certainly, some personality types thrive better in leadership roles than others. Even so, the good news is that leadership skills can be learned. Moreover, leadership is never a finished product; it’s an ongoing process that needs continuous nurturing and refinement: What to do…
Understand the Various Kinds of Leadership Required
There are different types of leadership. Think of three shepherds:
- The first opens the gate and walks through, allowing the flock to follow. This shepherd leads from the front.
- The second shepherd stands behind the sheep and pushes or guides them through, demonstrating a supportive leadership style.
- The third moves from front to back and sometimes to the middle of the flock, demonstrating an interactive leadership style.
Leaders cannot exist without followers, and the needs of followers change depending on the context. Knowing how and when to utilize different leadership styles can help you respond effectively, no matter what the situation demands.
Acquire and Refresh Your Leadership Knowledge
Business leaders need to understand the imperatives of their respective organizations. Business schools continually offer programs that provide a foundation for such understanding. These courses in leadership usually range from business theory to shaping strategic vision and understanding risk. Some might also cover organizational behavior, which analyzes what makes people tick and, in turn, suggests ways to best manage them.
Build Your Self-awareness
Your leadership style is the means by which you communicate. The more self-aware you are, the more effective your style will be, which means knowing the following about yourself:
- What you’re like as a person
- What your preferences are
- What your goals are
- How others perceive you and your objectives
- What motivates you to achieve these objectives
Numerous tests and questionnaires are available in books and on Web sites to help you explore your personality, preferences, and inclinations. Surveys (including the “360-degree” survey that allows employees to give you feedback) are also useful. Business schools have valuable data about expected leadership behaviors. By combining information from all these sources, you can establish benchmarks for yourself.
Apply the Skills You Have Learned
Leadership opportunities are often thrust upon one unexpectedly. As in most situations, your best bet is to start by analyzing the situation. Decide what is needed and how best to achieve it.
Some leadership positions require you to set the objectives for others to follow. In these situations scheduling, consultation, and team building are essential for success. Leaders often need to work as intermediaries between two groups: those who want the results (a board or an executive) and those who will deliver them. In this case, you need to establish good communication channels with both parties. Try to pick teams that have a good balance between competent managers and energetic, loyal team members. Teams need consistent, positive energy levels to sustain momentum, and a thoughtful mix of talents, not choices based on friendships or politics, is more likely to succeed.
If you are trying out new systems or approaches, first surround yourself with the right individuals (those comfortable with new ideas, for instance). Then create a framework for support and document the process so you can later evaluate how well you did.