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Effective Leadership Skills - Be, Know and Do

Mohan is a family physician, film and TV aficionado, a keen bibliophile and an eclectic scribbler.

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

Read Chapter #1

top-effective-leadership-skills-and-qualities-2

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


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).

BEKNOWDO

 

 

 

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)

top-effective-leadership-skills-and-qualities-2

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.

top-effective-leadership-skills-and-qualities-2

Find the Leader inside you

For each question, choose the best answer for you.

  1. How do you see your future?
    • I have a vision and I am happy to work for it
    • I have some idea and I am developing as I go along
    • I am happy to fly by and let fate take its course
  2. When things Go Wrong..
    • I seek to find whose fault it was
    • Things happen, Just get over it
    • I seek to find what went wrong and try to learn from it
  3. When I meet people...
    • I can taken 'em or leave 'em
    • I seek to find out about them and develop new friends, networks
    • I am not really into meeting people
  4. How much do you know yourself?
    • I am very self aware, I am keen to reflect and improve
    • I constantly surprise myself with my actions, I have no clue how I will react
    • I know bits of myself, I am learning more
  5. I communicate with people by
    • First listening and seeking to understand, then sharing
    • I really don't like communicating, I love solitude
    • I love sharing my ideas first as I blurt them out through enthusiasm
  6. When it comes to Teams...
    • I like leading by example
    • I like following from the back
    • I like contributing equally
  7. When it comes to problems...
    • I cherish taking on the challenge and help solve them through analysis
    • I tend to wait for others to solve it for me
    • I seek support and share the problem for a collective solution

Scoring

Use the scoring guide below to add up your total points based on your answers.

  1. How do you see your future?
    • I have a vision and I am happy to work for it: +5 points
    • I have some idea and I am developing as I go along: +0 points
    • I am happy to fly by and let fate take its course: -5 points
  2. When things Go Wrong..
    • I seek to find whose fault it was: -5 points
    • Things happen, Just get over it: +0 points
    • I seek to find what went wrong and try to learn from it: +5 points
  3. When I meet people...
    • I can taken 'em or leave 'em: +0 points
    • I seek to find out about them and develop new friends, networks: +5 points
    • I am not really into meeting people: -5 points
  4. How much do you know yourself?
    • I am very self aware, I am keen to reflect and improve: +5 points
    • I constantly surprise myself with my actions, I have no clue how I will react: -5 points
    • I know bits of myself, I am learning more: +0 points
  5. I communicate with people by
    • First listening and seeking to understand, then sharing: +5 points
    • I really don't like communicating, I love solitude: -5 points
    • I love sharing my ideas first as I blurt them out through enthusiasm: +0 points
  6. When it comes to Teams...
    • I like leading by example: +5 points
    • I like following from the back: -5 points
    • I like contributing equally: +0 points
  7. When it comes to problems...
    • I cherish taking on the challenge and help solve them through analysis: +5 points
    • I tend to wait for others to solve it for me: -5 points
    • I seek support and share the problem for a collective solution: +0 points

Interpreting Your Score

A score between -35 and -14 means: Hmm,you need a lot of work. You need to dig deep to open up.

A score between -13 and 7 means: You have started the journey, the destination is quite far but you've started

A score between 8 and 21 means: You're halfway there, some more work and reflection and you're on course

A score between 22 and 28 means: You are ready to take up leadership roles, just go for it

A score between 29 and 35 means: You're already there, if you are not leading what are you waiting for?

top-effective-leadership-skills-and-qualities-2
The London Eye from the Thames

The London Eye from the Thames

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

Comments

KE Morgan from Arizona on May 14, 2012:

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

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on May 05, 2012:

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

DEEPA JOHN from Trivandrum, Kerala,India on May 01, 2012:

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.

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on April 19, 2012:

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

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on April 19, 2012:

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

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on April 19, 2012:

@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.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on April 17, 2012:

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

drbj and sherry from south Florida on April 17, 2012:

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.

Amy Becherer from St. Louis, MO on April 16, 2012:

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.

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on April 16, 2012:

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

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on April 16, 2012:

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

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on April 16, 2012:

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

CASE1WORKER from UNITED KINGDOM on April 16, 2012:

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 .