A leader is someone who not only supervises but sets an example, a path that others can follow. In the professional sense, a leader is a guide and a mentor who helps their team achieve their goals and takes wins and losses in their stride.
Ms Renu Singh, Principal, Orchids The International School, Gurugram | March 31, 2023
American author, speaker, and pastor John Calvin Maxwell once said, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way. Leadership is a skill that some naturally possess, while some hone it over the course of their lives. When we think of leadership, our minds automatically drift to the senior management of a company, like a C-suite executive or maybe even a politician. However, leadership is an attribute rather than a designation. But what aspects comprise leadership?
An introduction to leadership
A leader is someone who not only supervises but sets an example, a path that others can follow. In the professional sense, a leader is a guide and a mentor who helps their team achieve their goals and takes wins and losses in their stride. Leadership skills are an essential component that contributes to professional and personal growth. But these are specific skills that can be honed/developed to make you an effective leader who wins everyone’s hearts. That said, here are some key leadership skills one should possess for growth.
According to research, empathy is the most important leadership skill, impacting everything in an organisation, from innovation to employee retention. With people living hectic and stressful lifestyles, the decline in mental health has increased dramatically, with burnout becoming common. So, when a leader shows empathy, their employees are far more likely to be innovative, productive, and satisfied compared to the employees of someone unempathetic. Empathy enables us to forge positive relationships while ensuring the desired results are delivered.
Communication and conflict resolution
Communication is key at all times and in every setting, especially at the workplace. As a leader communicating clearly to the audience, either verbally or through writing, is essential. While you needn’t be rude, curt, or boring, being able to get your message across to your team while being succinct is crucial for good communication. Communication also involves listening, so being a good listener while speaking politely and firmly is imperative for a leader.
Reliability and delegation of work
As a leader, you automatically become a mentor for your team. So, the ability to guide them with a firm yet gentle hand when necessary is a key trait. A good mentor listens to their team, helps them navigate challenges, and is trustworthy. Being reliable makes you a good leader and automatically increases your credibility as a human being. Apart from this, it’s also essential for a leader to delegate work fairly. While leaders will need to be hard-working, delegation can become a challenge, especially if they are passionate about their work. However, a leader must assess and evaluate the skills of each of their team member and assign work to them accordingly. This helps foster healthy relationships and makes employees feel trusted and respected.
Leadership is a learned behaviour and comes with many perks. Successful, renowned leaders across the world display the aforementioned characteristics. Besides these, a leader must be able to accept feedback and work on becoming a better version of themselves, and welcome opportunities to learn and grow in the process. As legendary NFL coach Vince Lombardi once said, “Leaders are not born, they are made,” and
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