What is Leadership?
Leadership, as the definition says “The action of leading a group of people or organization”. According to Wikipedia, Leadership is both a research area, and a practical skill encompassing the ability of an individual, group or organization to “lead”, influence or guide other individuals, teams, or entire organizations.
Lets see the thoughts of famous leaders/writers/entrepreneurs about leadership:
- Leadership is about vision and responsibility, not power – Seth Berkley
- A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way – John Maxwell
- Leadership is the capacity to translate the vision into reality – Warren Bennis
- The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority – Kenneth Blanchard
- Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems – Brian Tracy
Leadership has different meaning for different people depending on the situation and work area like political leadership, religious leadership and organization/workplace leadership etc.
Why do you need leadership skills?
As you step-up in your career and become a senior team member/team leader, the expectations exceed. The higher management or employer want you to take extra responsibilities.
So along with your core skills, you need to focus on soft skills/people skills too. Leadership skills are among the top in-demand soft skills.
Here in this article, we are going to discuss workplace leadership. You can read about other soft skills here “Top soft skills everyone must have for success“.
6 Leadership traits for workplace success
1. Great Communication skills
Leaders have the impact on their team’s success and the ability to deliver. So, their way of communication has a great impact on the team’s performance and productivity. The leaders need to communicate with the team on a daily basis or several times in a week like one to one conversation, team meetings and public speaking.
So, great communication skills can help them in inspiring, motivating and bringing the team together for a common goal.
Active listening and asking the right questions will be the two major parts one should focus on to improve this skill. Active listening will help you in better understanding and asking questions will help you in gathering the right information.
2. Strategic Thinking
Strategic thinking is considered as the most important skill for leaders as it allows them to take a problem-solving and decision making approach which includes objective analysis, thinking ahead, and planning. Strategic thinkers are considered as highly effective leaders.
Strategic thinking is about creating a vision of what you want to achieve and make a plan on how you are going to achieve that. Strategic thinking depends on analyzing data and using that information for decision making. And it makes it a powerful tool that a leader can use to make better business decisions.
In today’s rapidly changing technology time, being flexible is a must for every leader. Adapting the change and implementing them at the workplace is not easy. If you are working in a tech company then you might be aware that during the long projects, changes come very frequently and you need to make changes in your plan accordingly.
As you are a team leader, you need to train your team members also to adapt to the change and be flexible.
Every leader must have this skill, without confidence you can’t lead. A confident leader can make quick decisions and take risks. A confident leader can lead from the front and inspire confidence in other team members. It also builds influence in the team and the team trusts you more.
A true leader takes responsibility for his actions and prepares plans for improvement. A team’s success or failures depend on a leader’s decisions. So he should take responsibility for failure too, if he takes pride in success. If the leader starts blaming others for the failure, then he loses the trust of the team.
6. People Management
A leader’s job is not only to hire good people, but to retain them to build a strong team. A leader’s job is to create a working environment where people feel inspired and motivated. A leader needs to be a better influencer to motivate the team for a common cause and get the desired result.
Delegation and equal work-balance are the keys of better people management. The delegation will give a chance to everyone to prove themselves and work-balance gives equal opportunity to each team member.
There are many other skills also that a leader should have like organizational skills, empathy, creativity, etc. One can learn these skills with proper focus and dedication and can become a better leader.