Leadership Skill Development Fundamentals
Leadership skill development is essential for leaders in all walks of life. It is especially essential in entrepreneurship and business. Business is a results oriented field. When the results are poor everyone looks to the leader for reasons why.
What is Leaderhship?
Leadership means to be in front of or go before. Inherent in this definition is followership. A leader necessarily has a following. Leadership skill development focuses on perfecting the art and science of leadership.
Leadership is a state of being, like happiness is a state of being. It is not a thing that one possesses like a car or a house. One can be in a state of leadership one moment, and not be in that state the next.
When people start out on a journey as a unified group they should appoint a leader. Most people do this without even thinking about it. Even though one person may start out as the leader, leadership of the group may alternate among members of the group depending upon the situation.
In one phase of the journey a particular leader may have all the skills and knowledge to lead the group in that part of the journey. In another part of the journey the first leader may not possess the necessary qualities to lead the group so he/she becomes a follower, and another person becomes leader for a time.
So, basically every situation calls for a specific set of traits for the moment. The task at hand is to determine who at that moment is best qualified to lead the group, and get that person in position to lead. To appoint a person as "leader" like a position is asking for failure. Everyone has limitations.
When you understand what leadership skills are needed for effective leadership you can work on leadership skill development. The following are the traits of leadership in their order of priority.
- Caring (Compassion)
- Good Example
Caring The first thing a leader must do is care about, love the people they will lead. Without caring leadership will fail. People will only follow those that they know has their best interests at heart. People follow by conscious choice.
Sincerity and openness are the manifestations of caring. It is impossible to be deceitful and be a leader at the same time.
Caring means to value the well being of those you lead as you value your own well being. A true leader actually puts the well being of those he/she leads before their own.
Conscious choice is the one thing that separates leaders from salespeople and manipulators. You can sell people on an idea or on something and they may buy, but they may not buy by conscious choice. They may feel forced into the buying action. The same applies to manipulation of people.
Caring is a quality that is there or it isn't. People will perceive it when it is there. To know that you care people must
feel it, and
Vision Once caring is in place in a potential leader the next step is vision. However, before vision can come caring and the right state of the heart must be in place. This cannot be stressed too strongly. Vision won't come without caring. And, before vision comes the heart must set the foundation for vision.
A leader's vision must be in the mind's eye. Physical vision is helpful, but the vision needed for true leadership is vision in the mind's eye. To have vision in the mind's eye your heart has to be in the right condition for it to come.
A leader at the moment of leadership must see what others fail to see. It is that vision in the mind's eye that people want to "light" the way ahead.
You have to show people the goal, or the destination to be reached. People are naturally goal oriented. To be a good leader you need to have to articulate a worthy goal.
Communication Once caring and vision are in place the next thing a leader must do is communicate his vision to those he/she will lead. Effective, excellent communication skills are vital to effective leadership. This is one area of leadership skill development that everyone can improve upon.
To be a good communicator you have to be a good listener. That means what people feel and think is important to you. You take them into consideration in all your involvement with them.
Influence After you effectively communicate a vision to the group that will follow then next is influence. After people perceive your
then people are influenced to follow you to a destination. Influence means people will give their trust and will to your direction. They only do this by conscious will.
Influence is a quality of "rubbing off" on others very similar to a reptile that changes colors when it sits on a particular object. Influence is when people bend their will to match yours.
Good Example Lastly, after all of the above have taken place the next thing people look for in a leader is a good example. It is a natural trait of people that they want to see how to move or do something in the physical to fully understand how to move or do something.
A leader's example must be consistent with his communication, and all of the other attributes of leadership. Leadership skill development in this area is difficult because you never know how people perceive your example until they tell you, or you see your example's effects.
When there is inconsistency between the leader's example and his image or positions people freeze up and stop. This is a natural reaction. People won't follow again until the inconsistencies are removed.
The perception that people have of your example is just as important as the nature of your example. When followers perceive your example in the wrong way you have to work with them to make sure they understand your example.
Some leadership skills can be worked on fairly easily such as improving upon effective communication skills. However, sincerity is a leadership skill development quality that is not so easily improved. How does one become sincere? Just do it! It takes work and perseverance to be sincere.
To be a highly effective leader in the truest sense of the word you have to have all of the fundamental areas of leadership skill development in place. If they are not, then what you have is something other than true leadership.
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