Effective Leadership Skills - Be, Know and Do

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So Many Skills, So Little Time...


Welcome Back. In the previous chapter, we looked at defining leadership and speculated on what traits /skill sets leaders could possess. It was a long, sometimes daunting list. However, it could also be a familiar list. Everyone has communication skills to varying degrees, but not in a leadership context. Everyone can have judgement, can be decisive situationally, can develop knowledge, Can possess compassion and so on.

These are familiar traits that we use in familiar situations. Leadership for many, can be an unfamiliar situation territory.

So we need to:

  • Recognise whether we already possess some of these skills/traits but choose to use it in situations other than leadership roles.


  • Recognise that we may be very good at some of these but less so in others and set a personal learning goal in improving those skills. To challenge ourselves.


  • Put our skills to test by volunteering to lead. Starting small so we could get some practice and personal feedback. Maybe in coaching a small team, leading a project involving a familiar group of people among friends or at work


Let's remind ourselves about some of the skills/traits...


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The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.

- Kenneth Blanchard

While the Trait and Grand Events theory can be true and extraordinary leaders could be born out of need and out of in born traits, these are largely out of our control. And Such Events and traits don't always make a leader out of anyone.

We are here to discuss how we can transform ourselves or others into good leaders through reflection and practice.

How do people become leaders?

Bernard Bass1 three possible causative theories for the genesis of a Leader:


  • Trait Theory: Some personality traits may lead people naturally into leadership roles.


  • Great Events Theory: A crisis or important event may cause a person to rise to the occasion, which brings out extraordinary leadership qualities in an ordinary person.


  • Transformational Leadership Theory: People can choose to become leaders. People can learn leadership skills. This is the most widely accepted theory today and the premise on which this piece of work is based.


While the Trait and Grand Events theory are true also and extraordinary leaders could be born out of need and out of in born traits, these are largely out of our control. We are here to discuss how we can transform ourselves or others into good leaders through reflection and practice.

  • [i]Bass, Bernard (1990). From transactional to transformational leadership: learning to share the vision. Organizational Dynamics , Vol. 18, Issue 3, Winter, 1990, 19-31.

Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoi (1837 - 1887)  A prayer of Moses after the Israelites go through the Red Sea Oil on canvas, 1861 142 x 105 cm
Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoi (1837 - 1887) A prayer of Moses after the Israelites go through the Red Sea Oil on canvas, 1861 142 x 105 cm | Source


The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.

- Kenneth Blanchard

Be, Know and Do!


To transform ourselves or others into good, even great leaders we need to think about what we have to be, what we have to do and what we have to know.


This is a good way to throw us a challenge of personal learning goals across the three domains of knowledge ( know) , skills (do) , and attitudes(be).

BE
KNOW
DO
 
 
 
LOYAL
YOURSELF
PROVIDE DIRECTION:
SELFLESS
(SELF AWARENESS, STRENGTHS, LEARNING NEEDS)
(GOAL SETTING, PROBLEM SOLVING, DECISION MAKING)
RESPONSIBLE
YOUR TEAM / ORGANISATION
 
COMPETENT
(MISSION STATEMENTS, ETHOS, ORGANISATIONAL CULTURE)
IMPLEMENT
COMMITTED
HUMAN NATURE
(COMMUNICATE, CO-ORDINATE, SUPERVISE, EVALUATE)
COURAGEOUS
(MOTIVATIONAL FACTORS, EMOTIONAL NEEDS, PEOPLE)
 
IMAGINATIVE
FACTORS OF LEADERSHIP
MOTIVATE & INFLUENCE
HONEST
(FOLLWER, LEADER, COMMUNICATION, SITUATION)
(TRAIN, COACH, COUNSEL, DEVELOP)
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It is this dichotomy that puzzles many. People who can be naturally nurturing and supportive may find it difficult to be stern and commanding, those who are creative and visionary may find it binding to be orderly and to pre-plan.

A good leader can be someone who is aware of these dichotomies and harnesses them to achieve his or her full potential.


Learning from Good and Bad


There may be other traits we can think of when we think about some of the Leaders we know and admire. There are also traits one can learn from Leaders we know and loathe!

It is this dichotomy that puzzles many. People who can be naturally nurturing and supportive may find it difficult to be stern and commanding, those who are creative and visionary may find it binding to be orderly and to pre-plan. A good leader can be someone who is aware of these dichotomies and harnesses them to achieve his or her full potential.

An understanding of these qualities we all may possess in varying levels would help us to reflect and self evaluate our successes and failures in leading others. This also helps to improve on our leadership potential in influencing others.

There are some authenticated tools useful to assess individual leadership potential like the Myers- Briggs Type – Leadership analysis.[i]

We will explore the evidence behind Myers-Briggs in more detail in the next chapter.

[i]Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Myers-Briggs, MBTI, STEP III, and Introduction to Type are trademarks or registered trademarks of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Trust in the United States and other countries.

Find the Leader inside you

The London Eye from the Thames
The London Eye from the Thames | Source

Perhaps it is worth reflecting on situations in your own life where you had to take the lead - be it in your family, your circle of friends or at place of work or study.

It's hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse.

- Adlai Stevenson

Until We Meet Again


Now that we have a fair idea of traits and skills of a Leader, we can perhaps consider how to utilize them. In the next chapter we can look at types of Leadership styles, how we can differ in our approach to leading and look at situational leadership.


Perhaps it is worth reflecting on situations in your own life where you had to take the lead - be it in your family, your circle of friends or at place of work or study.


  • How did this experience make you feel?
  • Was it a successful experience?
  • What was your measure of success?
  • How did others respond to you?
  • Did you learn anything from it?


If possible write them down on a piece of paper and re-read your thoughts. This aids reflection and analysis.

Thank you again for your visit and readership.



© 2012 Mohan Kumar

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Comments 13 comments

CASE1WORKER profile image

CASE1WORKER 4 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

Well done, definitely on a roll here- the points you make are so clear but reinforced by good graphics- the initial photos should be enough to get everyone thinking whatever their political persuasion is .


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco

Another inspiring guide! You're really getting me thinking, Docmo :D


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK Author

@Case1worker- thanks for your visit and comment. I chose those leaders to illustrate the various styles at play- glad you noticed them.


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK Author

With my teaching hat on, I always feel good when I get someone thinking :D. Thank you!


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

I was privy to the Myers-Briggs personality test via my last workplace. It was extremely interesting and revealing. I was somewhat skeptical, but open to the test. I learned some interesting things about myself and my workmates. The first part of the test involved quickly looking at a picture and relaying what each individual saw to the host and group. All of my work associates had short one-word things they noticed, but I noticed details and had concocted a whole story. As the rest of the group shared a communal eyeroll, the host of the test cited the differences in the group perceptions of the picture presented. It was interesting to note that while I am a creative introvert (which the test revealed also), my co-workers expressed doubt at the term "introvert", as I was responsive in a talkative and enthusiastic manner at work. However, the host understood and explained the difference between introvert vs extrovert in that, although I enjoy communicating with people, it was exhausting at the end of the workday for me. An extrovert is energized by interaction; the more, the better. Thank you for mentioning this test system, as it is a great place to understand personal strengths and weaknesses. Brilliant, comprehensive hub, Docmo, that is relevant to every person.


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

Thanks for this excellent explanation of the skills involved in leadership, Mohan. I heartily endorse the MBTI as one of the most effective instruments for helping people understand their personality preferences and leadership potential. One of my favorite leadership quotes is by Peter Drucker, the management guru -'Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.' So true. Voted up, naturally.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

Another great article on leadership. Your presentation is top notch..Thank you for sharing..


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK Author

@Amy- Its always interesting when we first get our Myers-Briggs experience. IT was intriguing and yet true and highly insightful. I am writing the next hub in this series all about the MBTI. thanks for sharing your experiences , Amy.


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK Author

@drbj- I love that quote. so true. Thanks for the vote up- the next hub is about Myers-Briggs.


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK Author

@Ruby- you are always welcome here, you know that. I appreciate your comments, as always.


deepateresa profile image

deepateresa 4 years ago from Trivandrum, Kerala,India

I'm a Team Lead by designation, by reading your hub I think I need to improve more and your hub is really an inspiration. Thanks and voted up.


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK Author

@deepateresa - thanks for your visit and comments. I am glad it was useful.


diamond1mo profile image

diamond1mo 4 years ago from Arizona

I love it, but then I easily scored 100 percent.

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