Saturday, 18 July 2020

To Be a Good Leader, Be a Good Learner

Leadership is not an inborn gift or attribute but a set of knowledge, skills, and attitude that need to be learned and developed. Learn how to be a leader here.


At school, most students hear about great men and women of history, titans of change and reform, heroes that seem to stand high and above mortals. Shrouded in myth and legends, these leaders have become icons of strength, whose vision moved armies and brought down empires. They are like gods whose character and achievements seem beyond reach to us who are so ordinary.

However, the leader, as an enigma whose glory is embodied in bronze and marble statues, is just like everybody else. In fact, the myth is that only a few, unique individuals can exercise leadership.

All of us are capable of greatness, if we only learn how.

Leadership Is a Skill

What is leadership? It is a combination of character, attitude, values, and action. To be a leader, one must also have the humility to accept limitations and the need for others' help.Without followers who can help achieve a goal or a vision, how can one be a leader, right?

Leadership is also a learned skill. One can have the charisma of a John F. Kennedy, the towering height and strength of a Hercules, and the commanding baritone voice of a Barack Obama --- but these are not enough to make others follow.

As taught in team leader skills training, a person who is in-charge of followers must master several skills such as:

Communication

The leaders must be able to communicate a grand vision in words that inspire yet are fully comprehensible to all members of an organisation, from the decision-makers on top all the way down to the office intern. Through communication skills, the person in a leadership role is able to explain the goals and objectives of the organisation and the ways in which all of them need to work to reach success. Whether through a speech, a pep talk, a memorandum, or even just a gesture-the leader communicates his intentions, desires, expectations and appreciation for all the work that team members do. At times, the leader also needs to express dissatisfaction, or clarify of what needs to be improved, and even to give warning or correction, if need be.

Building Rapport

To be heard, a leader must also have the uncanny ability to reach out and make connections with people. By building rapport, he is able to make junior leaders and subordinates feel at ease without for a second losing their sense of respect. When this connection is built, it is like a bridge that enables communication to flow freely between leader and follower. In this way, problems are conveyed and solutions are discussed openly. Once a decision has been made by the leader, the followers agree and execute whatever needs to be done without any apprehensions. The rapport that was created has resulted in a deep mutual trust and commitment between the leader and the team members.

Ideation and Planning

To communicate a vision and a goal, a leader must also have the skill of ideation. Through ideation, he or she is able to concretise a distant dream into a clear and concise idea. In short, what needs to be done is captured into a few words or paragraphs, or perhaps even an illustration. The leader then follows-through by incubating, transforming, and moulding that idea into a series of doable plans. The leader knows how to calculate each and every step, taking note of risks that need to be made, contingencies that have to be set-up, and schedules to be followed during the execution of a plan. In both ideation and planing, the leader is methodical and precise.

Analysis and Problem-solving

The leader is also a master of analysis, a brilliant solver of riddles and puzzles, as it were. He must be able to sift through a mountain of information and data in order to identify problems, establish priorities, list down strategies, and craft ways to solve those challenges. When followers see the competence and confidence of a leader in facing all kinds of concerns and obstacles, their own confidence rises, and they, too, have the desire to perform with competence. In the end, they all share in the victory and success after overcoming every difficulty along the way.

Conflict and Stress Management

The one who leads is not a comic book superhero. He, too, is human. The leader also has weaknesses, insecurities, and doubts. However, the leader never lets these negative thoughts and emotions get in the way of his role of harnessing the collective wisdom and strength of an organisation. He learns how to master his emotions and handle the daily stresses and demands of the job. He is also sensitive to the physical conditions, mindsets, and emotional temperature of the team. With sensitivity and humour, the leader makes the timely use of levity to create a climate of calm and relaxation. He is able to reignite the passion of team members while also having the sensitivity to know when they need to take time off to rest.

A Sense of Personal Responsibility and Accountability

The good leader also takes responsibility for his own mistakes. When the team fails, he sees that as a sign that there is a need for more team training or team building. In fact, the organisations that are led by good leaders invest in the growth and development of every team member. These successful organisations do not see training as a cost, but as a worthy investment that lets them reap harvests of productivity and achievement.

Indeed, leaders are made not born. It takes a lifetime of learning to sustain success as a leader. Those who learn to lead become good leaders. Good learners, for sure, become effective leaders who take their followers with them on a fulfilling journey of success.


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