We welcome a Guest Post today by Corporate Coach Group.
Good leadership underpins good management. In most companies and organisations around the world, managers are responsible to both the company, and the people within that company.
This means that, as a manager, you must possess the right skills and character traits, not only to manage, but also to lead.
Leadership is about empowering a team, to successfully carry out a set of functions. Now, the effectiveness of the leader depends on their skill set and experience. Whether you’re a new manager, or someone who’s been managing for years, there are ways to become a better leader.
At Corporate Coach Group, we have identified ten essential leadership skills; the following notes will enhance your understanding of what makes a great leader, and will thus help you in your management role.
1. Setting Specific Goals
This is a very important skill for any leader. Make sure the goals you set your team are S.M.A.R.T; specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and with a definite time deadline. Being able to set and accomplish goals will greatly facilitate your management as it encourages compliance and sets a direction for the both the individual and the team.
2. Effective Team Building
Are you familiar with the saying, “Many hands make light work”? In essence, the more people working together on the same task, the more easily accomplishable that task.
However, there is a caveat here. The saying only works if the team are all pulling in the same direction; and this is where good leadership is needed. To build a cohesive team, every manager should consider the following:
- Create a vision
- Identify members and roles
- Define their roles
- Empower individuals to do their job
- Reward accomplishments
- Encourage all members to be involved in the decision making process
3. Clear and Accurate Communication
Clear communication is a skill that cannot be overstated. It is one of the most important skills for managers to possess. At its most basic, communication is the ability to send and receive a message, which means talking and listening to what everyone has to say.
Fostering an atmosphere of openness and honesty will garner greater communication between yourself and your team, and amongst those within your team.
4. Time Management
Another vitally important leadership skill is being able to manage your time effectively and prioritise workloads. With extra responsibility comes extra work; but you need to ensure that, as a manager, you’re still leading and not buckling under the increased pressure. Some excellent tips to help with time-management include:
- Carefully plan, prioritise and prepare all your most important tasks – plan your tasks for the day
- Say ‘no’ to low value tasks
- Finish whatever task you start
- Clear your desk at the end of every day
5. Handling and Resolving Conflict
Unfortunately, conflict happens in all organisations around the world. This can be conflict of both ideas and personalities and any good leader must know how to manage conflict before it becomes unhealthy for the department or organisation.
In some instances, organised conflict can actually improve performance and productivity, through competition for example. However, it is up to a good leader to embrace, organise and manager such conflict, before it becomes destructive.
There is a distinct difference between delegation and empowerment. Most managers can delegate tasks, but to be a really effective leader, you must authorise an individual in your team to take the lead in completing a task, even if that means that they make their own decisions.
As a leader, you’ll be judged on how well your team succeeds in their tasks when empowered. Some tips on empowering individuals are:
- Provide clear and concise directions
- Display confidence in the individual
- Trust others to deliver
- Trust in your own ability to train and prepare individuals
7. Developing a Clear and Distinct Vision
Whilst a manager can manage tasks and workloads, a great leader will develop a “clear and distinct vision” with their team. Your vision must be approved and authorised by the organisation; it should detail the future of your department and organisation. As a leader, it is your responsibility for what happens tomorrow, as well as day-to-day tasks. To articulate this vision, a good leader must:
- Develop a common language
- Passionately share your vision with others
- Be genuine with your ideas and motives
8. Taking Calculated Risks
As John C Maxwell said, “A good leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way”. In other words, as a leader, you’re responsible and accountable for your actions, words and decisions.
Whilst risk taking is difficult, it is incredibly important for a leader, a department, and an organisation to take calculated risks in order to grow. As a leader, you must act in in the face of uncertain knowledge and be prepared to take calculated risks, by putting your faith in your team’s hands.
Think back to empowering individuals, this means taking a risk, and ultimately you will be responsible for the decisions made.
9. Being Trustworthy
You must earn the trust of the others in the team. If you’re not trusted as a manager, you’ll struggle to achieve all of the other aforementioned skills. Trust is at the very heart of leadership.
In order to earn their trust, you need to be honest and straight with your team, be proactive and follow-up with what you say you’re going to do – do not make promises you can’t keep. Honesty and proactivity will foster a degree of trustworthiness in your team, and will enhance communication with you from your team.
10. Having a Strong sense of Ethics and an Explicit Moral Code
“What is the right thing to do?” You’ve no-doubt asked yourself this question plenty of times, and it is this moral reasoning that makes you the leader you are.
Please note the following:
- “The Ends” do NOT necessarily justify “The Means”.
- NOT “anything goes”!
- The following is true: Good ethics is also good business.
- Good business is based upon an “honest and fair exchange of values”.
This means you must understand the implement the moral virtues of honesty, and fairness; you must strive to “add value” in all your dealings with others: with your customer, with your boss and with your organisation.
As managers, your ethics are defined by following a set of guidelines and moral principles.
Yet, for leaders, there’s a degree of moral reasoning behind your decision making. Your ethics and morals drive the decision you make as a leader, which is a valuable skill in effective leadership.
This Guest Post was written by Corporate Coach Group, a leading management and leadership training company.