Leadership is concept that describes a person’s ability to gain the trust of others and influence them to lend their efforts to the accomplishment of a task. In simpler terms, it is your ability to get others to follow you. However, there are many ways to get others to follow you or do as you wish. Some of those things do not necessarily constitute good leadership.
Effective leadership is such that allows you to draw upon all available resources (especially people) to accomplish a goal. Good leadership takes self confidence, self esteem, compassion and good decision making skills along with the firmness needed to stay the course.
A Flashy Title Does Not the True Leader Make
I am not trying to sound like Yoda but he would make a good example. If Yoda relied on his awe inspiring title of “Jedi Master” alone to motivate Luke, the X-wing might still be stuck in that swamp. When we think of leaders, we usually think of someone that we know who is in a leadership position. Unfortunately, there are many reasons that a person can be placed in such a position and many of those reasons do not necessarily depend on that person’s ability to lead. This person is in a leadership role but is not necessarily a leader at all. Not all leaders are good leaders. Your ability to be an effective leader depends on your leadership influence. That is, your ability to positively influence others using factors other than your authority alone.
Most Leadership Skills Are People Skills
A good leader has the skills necessary to establish a good relationship with those that he or she leads. In general, leadership has been found to directly correlate to traits such as intelligence, flexibility, understanding, awareness, efficiency, tactfulness and respect for others. However, the skills that will lend the most usefulness deal with his or her ability to work with people. It has also been noted that it is far more effective to lead by example than to lead by direct order. Anyone can give orders and lead people using stress as a motivator. This is not the mark of an effective leader. This is a boss, and anyone with the right connections and the right title can be a boss. True leaders go much deeper in the complexity of their skill than simply bossing people around and irritating them.
The people you lead are less likely to follow you if you seem hypocritical or if you lack the ability to earn their respect. We all know that earning the respect of others means giving respect first. If we cannot give people the respect they deserve first, foremost and unconditionally, our attempts to lead will be met with more difficulty.
The Lone Wolf Is a Selfish Leader
Leadership will put your people skills to the test. Without people, a leader is simply a lone wolf without a pack. Taking down the deer then becomes a much more arduous task. If you want the pack to follow you, you must give them reason to want to follow. If you show them that you can control the direction of the group in a beneficial way, they might follow. If you can show them to their next meal, perhaps they will help you take it down.
When the Lone Wolf Is Away, the Pack Will Play
It is true that in many cases, managers will give orders and subordinates will follow them when they must out of fear for their job security. Others may try to impress these pseudo leaders when they are around in order to gain favor. It happens every day and in some cases, it is enough to keep getting the job done. But not always.
Unfortunately, people who follow you for reasons such as this, usually only work hard for you when you are watching closely. When you turn your back, their lack of respect for you starts to play a significant role in their decisions about what to do next. They slack off. I would too. People are not going to go the extra mile for someone who has poor communication and displays a lack of regard for them. Therefore, unless you plan to babysit everyone who works for you, this is not going to be the most efficient way to lead. If people start bad mouthing you every time you leave the room, you may need to face the fact that your leadership skills are probably not up to par.
Inspire Your People and They Will Impress You
A true leader inspires others to adopt his or her goals as their own. In the leader’s absence, people who follow will jump at the chance to take the wheel or step up to the plate and carry the overall task forward. Your true leadership ability depends on your ability to do this.
Great leaders deeply understand the concept of teamwork and more importantly, are able to effectively communicate this mentality from a leadership perspective. They are not afraid to make the big decisions. They are thinking ahead and they are fully aware of the consequences of their actions. These leaders follow through on promises and inspire faith in their leadership ability. They reward when reward is due. They possess vision and communicate that vision clearly and in an unambiguous fashion. An effective leader will put in the effort to ensure that he or she is not difficult to follow or understand.
A great leader inspires people to follow of their own free will. He or she exudes confidence and positive energy. People will naturally want to emulate a true leader.
Next Article: Leadership Development
Articles and Resources about Leadership: