Leadership is a skill set every leader, and everyone who wants to be a leader, can learn. The problem is that organizations spend a lot of time focusing on one leadership skill set, thinking it will solve the challenges their organizations face. The following are five skill sets that when applied, can work holistically to help any leader and their team accomplish more.
Vision: Leaders need to imagine the world as it could be and not as it is. Too often we focus on the challenges we face, and not on the future we could achieve. A great leader will look beyond the current situation and envision a future state that people can get behind. That compelling vision will keep people moving forward.
Strategic Thinking: Having a compelling vision is not enough. Focused and deliberate thought needs to go into how that vision will become a reality. Articulating how a vision becomes reality, is the difference between mediocrity and greatness. Leaders need to think about how that vision effects and is affected by your customers, employees, financials, growth and internal operations. Looking at these areas of your business and creating a plan that includes projects and actionable tasks refines your leadership skills and engages your employees.
Empower Your People: Empowerment is one of those things leaders can easily get wrong and often do. Empowering your employees is all about keeping them focused on your vision while letting them decide the best way to get there. Once this is done great leaders gently correct and guide, only when needed. It is about helping your employees grow.
Accountability: When it comes to accountability there is a right and wrong way to look at it. Great leaders do not hold their people accountable. Great leaders teach their people to hold themselves accountable. This can be a tricky tightrope to walk, however, when done correctly you will have people who are loyal to you and the organization. Your people will know that you not only expect the best from them, you expect them to expect the best from themselves.
Celebrate Your People: The best leaders are ones that don’t take credit. When you celebrate the successes of your people in achieving your vision you will see how loyal they will become to you and the company. They will know that the great work they are doing is being seen and recognized by you, those around them, and those above them. This will lead to a culture where everyone supports and encourages others to achieve your compelling vision. They understand that when your vision is achieved, their contribution will be all over it and everyone else will known too.
Leadership is about people. Without people, nothing gets done in your organization. Creating a culture of people who can take direction, figure out the best way to accomplish that direction, and feel good about what they are doing to achieve that direction is the the essence of leadership. That kind of leader is one that most people would love to work for, and a company people would love to be a part of.