It is often said that leadership skills are inherent and some people are born leaders. If this is true, what happens to those who are not born leaders, and does it mean that those who are born leaders get everything right in leadership? Leadership is more intentional than it is inherent and there are certain qualities that would-be leaders will have to adopt, especially if you want to lead in the workplace.
To be a great leader, people, or more importantly, your followers should be able to trust you enough to entrust their wellbeing into your hands. To be a great leader, you must be transparent with your team and honest, so that they do not have to always doubt or second-guess your true intentions. Having integrity also means that you are willing to accept fault when something goes wrong instead of picking one of your team members to take the fall. It also means that you don’t arbitrarily go back on your word when things don’t seem favourable to you.
To be an effective leader, you must be good at organisation. You should be able to plan and organise tasks into achievable goals and strategies based on the strength and capabilities of each member. A great leader knows how to tactically align the short-term effort with the long-term goal and carry his team with him in the process. Being good at organising allows leaders to be good at managing their people and the work they have to do.
Leading people means that effective communication has to be your greatest assets. You should be able to clearly convey to your team the purpose, goal and vision of the team in a way that will make them buy into it and make them want to jump off a cliff with you. You should master the skill of talking to different audiences in different settings, be it one-on-one communication with your team members or management team or speaking at meetings and large gatherings. As part of being a good communicator, you must also be good at reading your audience through their responses and tailor your message to suit them. You should also learn the art of negotiation; often times, you will be asking people to do things they are reluctant to do, you have to make it seem worthwhile to them.
There are few things more demoralising than a leader who doesn’t seem to know what he is doing or seems to second-guess their every action and word. There is nothing wrong with admitting your weaknesses as a leader, but when it seems like you are not your own person and your follower find you gullible, your team is likely to crumble. Be open to the opinions and suggestions of your team and when you make a decision, be confident in it. Be open to adopting leadership skills that do not come to you naturally, it will give your confidence a boost.