What are leadership skills and what is leadership
If you are looking to understanding what leadership is, it is present all around you in every day life and not just in the work place or government as most people define it as. It can be applied to any situation where someone is required to take the lead either in a professional, social, or at home / family environment. Leadership is basically about influencing the thoughts, views, and actions of people or society by demonstrating your beliefs and way of action by example or through effective communication.
I want to state again that you can be a leader in any situation and it is not only in the context of work or the government. In fact, here is an article that covers leader skills you can apply to your social life even though most people would only define them normally in a work type environment. It is very critical to understand that if you are going to be successful, you need to be willing to change the context and perspective at which you look at the world around you.
There is a large consensus out there that leadership is something that is innate in an individual — you are either born with it or not. Many are stuck in the belief pattern that being a leader is only for “others” and not them. In reality, every person on the planet is being called to demonstrate their own leadership example. For those that did not grow up in an environment that gave them the traits needed to lead, they can create a situation where they will acquire the skills and then can practice and perfect them. All that is required is that they are willing to put in the time and effort and become conscious of the fact that at some level they are being called to step forward and be a leader of some sort.
Leadership is about style and substance with a mix of vision, action, and spirit. Additionally, you must add leadership skills into the mix because the skills you have define where you are and where you need to go to lead others effectively. Your behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs have created a specific set of life skills for you up to this point in your life. To gain new skills and improve your leading capability, you need to start a never ending process of self analysis and self improvement.
Types of leadership skills
There are various actual leadership skills that I will cover later in this article, but at this point there are more important things you need to understand to shape your mindset. The key point, though, is to look at the theme behind these skills so you can categorize them into areas that will speed up the growth of your abilities. The real work is rising to the constant challenge of developing the leader within you and identifying which skills you posses and which you need to train or refine. If you do not develop the skills of a leader — you, your business, or the company you work for will stagnate. But, remember that developing and building leadership skills is a process and not an event. It will only happen if you apply yourself in each day-to-day function of your life. See yourself as being on a marathon and do not expect that the race will be over immediately after beginning it.
Here is an info-graphic that talks about transformative business skills for leaders. Look at the large range of broad skills you need. Do you believe it is easy to acquire all those and stay up to date? Not to mention, also having all the other “normal job duties” that a everyone has. No, it isn’t. This is why it is really helpful for you to start to come to the realization that this isn’t as much about a defined specific skill, but an overall adroitness in having the capability to learn and grow as well as thinking at a higher order of thought that makes people accept your leadership.
The four themes you need leadership skills training on are:
- understanding yourself
- understanding whoever you are leading
- understanding the relationship between you and whoever you are leading
- understanding the relationship of everything else in the equation
This is the substance behind the challenge of being a successful leader. The core can be summed up that leading is about you and your relationship to everything out there, but until you have the right mindset this could be a bit too complicated to understand. So, instead I have broken it up into the a few other sections to make it easier.
How to improve and build leadership skills
There is no easy way to accomplish the task of growing your abilities to a point where you have true leadership savoir-faire. You need to take on a mindset that allows you to start to understand and relate to your core needs as well as the core needs of others. Great leaders demonstrate their values through actions every day and do not just sit in an office barking orders. You grow the most by setting an example as well as using the power you have to trust and empower others to achieve their own greatness. Leadership is not about the ego or your own gain — it is about grace, courage, love, and the prosperity of others.
Improvement will come down to the environment you put yourself into whether it is another company and team or one you create yourself. Your ability to define and have a vision toward where you want to go is very critical in achieving any level of success. For how can you get anywhere if you do not know where you are and where you want to go? So, a firm and vivid grasp of where you are headed is needed. If for whatever reason, you lack clarity, then you must at least have within yourself the confidence to follow your gut and just take a step forward.
You need to look at the world in a more holistic way and understand that everything is changing. What worked today, might not work tomorrow. This article talks about the trends and skills you will need in 2030 to be a leader. The important thing to really get from what they are saying is to understand that while skills and abilities are important, they are something you can learn. The overall goal you should reach for, though, is mindset and understanding how to be ahead of the curve so you learn what you need to take you forward and keep you ahead of others.
If you are someone that doesn’t like change, you really need to overcome it and face whatever fear you have inside you related to change. I can help with that or any of your leadership questions — just set up a free strategy session with me.
Examples of top and other leadership skills
I searched the Internet for all the various skills people believed you need to be a Leader. I read entries from average bloggers to well known professionals to even posts from large companies. Ultimately, I found almost 200 of them. The interesting thing, though, was I quickly became aware that the information provided was all based on the context of the situation the person was put in. I didn’t want this post to be just a list of the top 200 leadership skills. Instead, I wanted to provide a post that really got to the core of leadership and what is needed for you to become one yourself. To become empowered like this, you need to learn how to see beyond the skills required in the situation, and understand what you are truly being called to do. Basically, you need to learn to be mindful and completely present in the situation. If there is any skill that is needed, those are the two critical ones.
Why is this important? Because a true leader is one that is able to keep their clarity and be fully present in the moment so that they can make the most effective decision needed for what is happening. By being able to keep your wits about you, you are able to help the situation and make a conscious action versus what most people do — which is make unconscious actions. They are reactive and not responsive in how they deal with things. They let their subconscious programming control them instead of their mind.
Earlier I talked about the themes related to what you need to train on. Below you will find the various themes I talked about so that I can go into them in more detail and help you understand why they are more important than individual skills.
How can you help others if you are unable to help yourself? Just like in an airplane, you need to put the mask on your face first before helping anyone else. You need to put yourself first in a manner that ultimately benefits everyone, not just yourself. So, I am not advocating that you be selfish, nor am I saying you should be selfless. You need to be learn how to exhibit the characteristic — selfless selfishness.
I am not going to cover that concept right now and instead want to just focus on “selfish.” Being selfish is usually considered a bad thing, but there is a way to do it without all the “bad” parts. You do this by focusing on yourself in ways that grow you so that the end result is that it helps make you become filled with joy as well as feel complete. If you are in the mind frame then you are able to help other people the most because you are projecting outward your best. And when you are filled from within you do not need anything and you do everything you can to help people.
There are some personal skills you need to drive home and master to ensure you really do become fulfilled and eliminate all the negative parts. Some of these are:
- Staying authentic
- Complete self responsibility - understanding that you create your reality
- Making sure you have no leaky energy and have set boundaries
- Have faced your demons, limiting beliefs, and fears
- Clarity on who you are
- Clarity on your purpose
- Vision and determination on what you want to achieve
- Do not judge yourself and knows how to exhibit compassion
- Continual learner and willing to push past your fear limits
- Has humility and overcome the dangers of the ego
- Is honest in all situations and keeps them in perspective
- Completely present, peaceful, and calm
- Self aware (emotional intelligence) and conscious of ones actions and careful not to have their subconscious running their actions
- Optimistic and passion oriented
- Lives in balance and to your values
By having complete control of yourself and fully understanding who you are, why you act the way you act, and are on a path toward improvement, you create a safe space for people to interact with you.
Learning how to understand others and being able to relate with them in the proper manner is the next area you need to master as a leader. This can and will be a very hard area to overcome because one of the most important things is how self-aware the person you are dealing with is. In a good situation you will be dealing with a person that is just as self-aware as you or even more so. It will be a little harder if they are less self-aware and potentially painful if they are completely unconscious of their actions.
On the flip side, if you have learned how to set proper boundaries within yourself you might not have any problem when dealing with others and getting to understand them. Of course it is important that you have learned how to check your ego at the door. Understanding others is really where you shine if you have seriously worked on the personal skills I talked about. The reason for this is because you will not become triggered by the person you are dealing with and instead become interested and curious about them. Ultimately, only wanting the best for them.
This change in perspective will allow you to really be an active listener and spend the required time to get a good understanding of where this person is coming from and what they have experienced in their life to make them who they currently are. If you have never believed how important it is to be willing to walk in another person’s shoes before you judge and define them — now is the time.
How can you truly influence or change someone’s life unless you understand them on a deep enough level. Sure you can apply basic human traits and psychology tactics, but sooner or later you will be forced to really spend the time to understand people. Each individual is much more complicated than they are usually given credit on. The beauty in this is that they are a complex pattern of beliefs, experiences, and emotions that create a unique soul that truly adds value to the world. My question to you is are you willing to crack their code?
The depth you need to dive is truly dependent on the person and the situation you are in. Here are some helpful interpersonal skills, though, that you will need to master to help you obtain the abilities to really understand the person you are interacting with:
- Sense of humor
- Respects others
- Positive attitude and energy
- Listens deeply and beyond the words
- Able to not bring your perspective or beliefs into the situation
- Calm during a crisis
- Can see the good in things and people
- Able to see another’s perspective
- Asks good revealing questions
When you are able to truly walk in another’s shoes and understand what motivates them and how they look at the world, you will then be able to relate to them and find a way to bridge the gap between you two.
Interacting With Others
Now that you really understand yourself and are the type of person that responds to a situation instead of reacting and you have a good comprehension of who the person you are dealing with is, we find you in a spot where you need to interact with the person and try to lead them. Interaction at this level is designed to help both of you achieve whatever is the highest goal of the moment.
It is beyond critical that you have complete mastery of responding and not reacting to things. Especially since your discussion with this person could lead to a situation where you could get triggered. You can only do so much on how they might react to you, but you have complete control on how you act in the situation. To help you should also manage your words in a way so that you are not directly triggering them into some subconscious reaction.
When interacting with others, one of the most important points is to remember who they truly are. See them at all times in their highest form and their best self. As you explain what you are trying to achieve you help them understand why it is good for them as well. This gets you the buy in on the goal. Additionally, if you are coaching them you want to really help them see how they can achieve the biggest goal and how they have more power than they think they do. Help them become empowered and believe in themselves.
Your discussion should be about common goals, compromise, and a win-win situation. Here are some skills to help you through the process:
- Accept criticism and other people’s opinions
- Be a motivating force
- Champion for work / life balance
- Brings out the talents of their workers and develops them
- Building and mending relationships
- Building rapport
- Clear thinker
- Coach / mentor
- Clear communicator
- Conflict management
- Effective speaking
- Influencing others
- Sense of humor
- Strong team player
By taking the time to build up the relationship between you and the person you are trying to lead, you will be able to make a lot of progress in achieving your goals. Additionally, you will be able to set them on a path toward true empowerment and them reaching their own goals.
Now we come to the final part of the pie that brings all of this together - everything else in the environment. It is really important that you become someone that can see the larger context of what is happing in the world around you. You are in relationship to everything around you and you need to take that into perspective.
As a leader, sometimes you need to make a decisive decision and move forward, while other times it is more pertinent to just wait and see how things play out. Action is important in all situations, but sometimes the action to take is no action at all or having the courage to surrender to the situation as it is and allow it to just happen like it is meant to. We live in a world of infinite contexts and perspectives. Everyone adds their perspective into the equation and you must consider that the higher thought and goal might not be on the time line you want.
Here are the helpful skills you need to allow you the ability to manage the environment and people that are part of the larger perspective:
- Strategic thinker and visionary
- Strategic planner
- Participative management
- Managing stakeholders
- Managing change and respectful of the pain that change can cause to people
- Keeping things in perspective
- Clear communicator
- Generates and takes heat
- Evaluates risk
- Evaluates performance
- Effective speaking
- Customer centric
- Culture management
- Role model for integrity and ethics
- Aware of internal and external events
- Avoid gossip
By taking in the components of the large dynamic of the situation you are in, you should be able to effectively manage and achieve what you are trying to and lead people in a competent way. By setting up the end result as a win for everyone involved you truly move them forward and keep them excited and willing to grow as individuals and as a team.