Being a leader is a role not everyone can take on, it is something that not every individual can take responsibility for, even though, it is quite likely that you will be a leader to a certain scale – at least once in your lifetime. So you better be prepared.
People who not only have all the skills and competencies needed for a certain role, but also demonstrate leadership attributes, are in high demand. It is crucial they can inspire, motivate and support creativity via all channels and with all team members. They must have precise knowledge in diverse fields and the ability to think quickly to change paths and innovate when failing.
A leader is inspirational, yet keeps a familiar bond with everyone. It is more than likely and happens quite often that leaders are differentiated from managers, meaning, of course, leadership skills can be combined with a highly executive position, yet a leader can also come in more down-to-earth shapes and forms.
As I have said in the beginning, leadership is not necessary a particular role an individual has, but a set of characteristics and skills that make others want to follow him/her. Leadership characteristics include:
- Being able to remain calm and collected through stressful periods
- Trying to be fair (always!)
- Being able to quickly adapt to new team members, new conditions and opportunities
- Pulling through hard times and not leaving anyone behind while doing so
- Completely representing themselves, their team and the position they are in
- And putting a smile on one’s face when much needed.
Let’s consider a few points that could help you optimize your leadership skills in the future:
- Position yourself as a strong support to each and every individual in your team. As a leader you are responsible for any type of collaboration and team building. Not just by being a support for the team, but also by trying to encourage and by striving for success as a team. Go with the flow of great team work and “never leave a fallen man behind”. Building collaboration also blends into the next point of…
- Giving the team great focus: You’re the support a team needs and feels comfortable approaching when problems or difficulties arise. Not only leading, but also serving, appreciating and developing them to get to know who you are working with and every angle of the environment one could encounter in diverse situations. This almost seems like a familiar dynamic, right?
- Establishing visions, missions, goals and values – there is nothing more frustrating than a team that does not work well together and it also automatically minimizes the quality of work, its flow and the determination of the team. Once these points have been built and the individuals that mesh best have been joined together, a great team that delivers astonishing work will have blossomed and is ready to take on whatever comes at them.
- A leader needs to be accessible and available – there is nothing worse than fearing the person who is responsible for a team or a certain project. As a leader one needs to have an open ear for anybody and anything that comes up (concerning dynamics or quality of work). Mentioning that, a leader shall be available, in order to straighten terms out and/or support in any way needed, most of the time and “keep an open door” for the team to be able to approach him/her.
Last but not least, and for me the most important point …
- Pass the leadership on: Encourage team members and other great personnel to lead and mentor, to take the wheel and to stand up for things that give them a chance to display their skills and (hidden) talents. Great leaders do not want this role for only themselves, but they want everyone to strive for greatness and make an impact in what they are most specialized in, because in the end it isn’t about power, it’s about growing a community, friendships and trusted relationships that are almost impossible to break.