Leadership ability is approximately 30 percent inherited and 70 percent learned. Therefore as we go through life and want to become a leader in our organization we must work at developing our skill set. A good leader will surround themselves with the most talented people available to accomplish the tasks at hand. In some regards we can choose who we have on our team but often it requires us to work and develop those around us.
Five essential things that all good leaders must possess to be effective: Passion, Communication Skills, Commitment to Staff, Team Building, and Decisiveness.
Passion — Good leaders have a passion for the work they do and feel it is important. Sharing that passion and enthusiasm with others can help you motivate others to become more productive. Praising your employees when they do a good job can be a natural extension of passion. Studies show that morale sinks and employees soon hate to come to work without occasional praise.
Communication — Strong leaders know how to communicate effectively with staff at both higher and lower levels in the organization. Understanding how to clearly explain tasks and projects to staff while communicating the importance of your team’s work to administrators is a crucial skill that takes practice. Good communicators keep staff informed when changes or updates to projects occur, are readily available to staff and hold regular meetings to ensure that all team members are aware of the status of projects.
Commitment to Staff — Good leaders understand that success isn’t possible without the help of their employees. Providing ample training opportunities for your staff and expressing your confidence in their work lets them know that you are invested in them. Strong managers avoid the urge to perform every part of a project themselves, but allow employees to make decisions, prioritize tasks and plan projects. Leaders who are committed to their teams try to ensure that all employees are treated equally.
Team Building — Encouraging employees to work together, rather than competitively, can result in higher productivity and improved morale. Encouraging a cooperative atmosphere and group problem solving will help you ensure that your team completes tasks on time without personal conflicts. Asking for input from others regarding team functions and procedures can help them feel that they are an important part of your team.
Decisiveness — Employees rely on leaders to make decisions that are quick, logical and correct. Understanding the scope of the work your employees handle, the concerns of your supervisors, financial constraints and any other relevant factors will enable you to make fast decisions. Entrepreneur recommends using a system to make decisions that is quick, committed, analytical and thoughtful. If you are unaccustomed to making important decisions, developing a spreadsheet to evaluate drawbacks and advantages can help you focus on the issue.
Always keep your team informed of any changes to your tasks and explain how these changes may impact the work they are doing or adjust the goals of the team. If you teach everyone on your team to eventually do your job, then your job will become much easier.
RWB Harold Ireland, Senior Grand Warden