“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. — Warren Bennis
Whether it is about a team of ten, a hundred, or a thousand, a leader must possess certain fundamental skills before he could call himself a leader and carry out his job. If a leader is with a vision, then his leadership skills would determine the future of his vision. It is the leader who decides how an organization and its every entity will function.
Having said that, it is the approach of the leader that majorly impacts the growth of the organization. A successful leader is known to have unquestioning management skills and in-depth know-how of the business.
As they say, “leaders are not born, they are made”, circumstances and a strong desire to acquire leadership skills can push a professional forward to become a great leader. If that means that anybody can become a leader, then the answer is yes. Anybody willing to invest time and effort can develop skills to influence others for a target to be fulfilled. Leadership skills can be developed at any point in a career.
From an early stage of a profession, newly appointed leaders to aspiring entrepreneurs, leadership skills can benefit anyone who is looking forward to moving ahead in his career path. Although there is no definite formula to becoming a successful leader, having some basic leadership skillset will help any professional in the long run.
Before moving on to learn about the fundamental skills required to become a successful leader, let us understand what is meant by the term leadership and who are the people who can benefit from these skills.
What is meant by the term ‘leadership’?
Motivating a group of professionals, evaluating and taking risks, and challenging the status of a project – leadership can mean anything from getting the resources functioning to delivering the final job.
While the literal meaning of the term is, ‘leading a group of people or an organization’, the job of a leader is to monitor anything that influences the successful completion of one or more projects. A leader is supposed to be accomplished in planning, organizing, mentoring, and controlling the work environment.
Professionals who can benefit from leadership skills:
1. New professionals
Starting early is always good. Learning and demonstrating leadership potential helps a professional to stand out among his competitors and be positioned for a promotion or other career advancement.
2. Mid-career professionals
Professionals in the middle of their career path may find a stagnancy in growth. Learning some extra skills is always an advantageous step to moving forward. Growing leadership skills can be explicitly helpful as it is considered one of the highest skills that any professional can acquire.
3. Aspiring or newly appointed leaders
For professionals who are targeting leadership positions or are newly designated leaders, it is a prerequisite to learn the skills required for the position. A leader without the preferred skills is as dysfunctional as he could be.
4. Aspiring or new entrepreneurs
It is most appropriate to say that anyone who is aiming for a profitable start-up can benefit hugely from the skills that will influence, motivate, put trust in, and get going a team of professionals who are new to his vision. If he is void of these leadership skills, then building a sustainable business would be a difficult proposition for him.
Few core skills to develop as a leader:
The first and foremost skill that a leader requires is to communicate effectively. Any team of various sizes and jobs needs a leader who can explain everything about the job. His communication ability is the primary factor for a team to function properly. It will determine how efficiently a task is completed and eventually influence the future of the organization as a whole.
To ensure that each and every aspect of a job is understood and carried out by the team properly, a leader must have uncomplicated and comprehensible communication skills.
Motivating a team of professionals does require some serious skills. If a leader wants his team to accept and acknowledge his vision and work accordingly, he must develop the power to influence them. Influence can be of various forms at various levels of an organization. Sometimes it can be a professional of higher designation, the team working under the leader, or the client.
Identifying the audience is the key to productive influence. A leader must come up with logical and compelling arguments to exercise his influencing ability. An effective leader is one who empowers his employees and brings out the best in them.
Before leading somebody else, it is important to gain self-awareness and lead oneself. A leader must clearly identify his positive and negative traits before trying to influence others. If he is aware of his strengths and weaknesses, he can maximize his contribution as a leader.
This might include identifying his own and as well as others’ emotions and regulating them in certain periods of high job stress. This will also help in relationship management between the leader and his team while influencing, mentoring, and resolving conflict.
4. Learning agility
A leader must know his project from the stage of a seed to a full-grown tree. That is the only way he will be a better communicator, and better influencer and eventually get things done. His agility to actively learn and unlearn things during the execution of a project will help his team to better perform.
His constant learning mode and being open to various circumstances, will not only lead to the successful completion of a project but will also help him to build a sustainable career for himself. Learning new skills, learning from past mistakes, learning from negative feedback, and taking benefit from opportunities are all part of his learning agility.
Certain fundamental skills are expected from a leader, no matter whether it is a small team, a small start-up, or a large-scale enterprise that you are managing. These core skills will help you to become an effective and successful leader at various stages of your career. All you need to become an effective leader is the desire to become one and the next things will follow.