There are many attributes and leadership traits that are imperative to effective leadership. I will discuss eight that are the pillars that support all others. They are Communication Skills, Decision Making, Delegation, Emotional Intelligence, Managing Change, Setting Goals, Team Building and Visualizing the Future.
These eight leadership competencies are tried and true skills that will give a leader influence to make an impact with those they lead. I will not be able to give a comprehensive study on each in this article, however I will highlight how each of the eight competencies are crucial to developing effective leadership. These are skills that can be learned and developed over time. As a leader you will need to constantly sharpen your sword to maintain these skills.
Have you ever heard “It was a breakdown in communication”? Over my 29 years in the construction industry, I have heard this too many times to count. I can give you countless examples where breakdown in communication has led to minor difficulties and catastrophic failures. Communication or the lack thereof is the root cause of many accidents.
As a leader of people, you must make it a priority to develop communication skills for yourself and your team members. Communication should be designed to reflect the corporate culture and provide clarity to the team. You can design a communication plan that will define what means and methods of communication are required in specific scenarios.
There are two extremes when it comes to decision making the shoot from the hip hastily made decisions and the analysis paralysis where a leader either does not provide direction or is not confident in the decision being made, both extremes will have negative impact on the effectiveness of a team.
A leader should gather relevant information, consult trusted advisors, and make a decision that moves the team on a forward path to meet their collective goals and objectives.
I must admit the first time I heard this leadership skill I winced a little. I had been taught to “leave my emotions at home” I have now learned that leaving my emotions at home is impossible. All human beings have emotions, and we experience them frequently.
I have also determined that I will define my emotions as either comfortable or uncomfortable, some would say positive or negative, however I have given myself permission to experience uncomfortable emotions when appropriate. Grief is an uncomfortable emotion that is necessary and real to experience when you have lost a loved one or friend, there is an appropriate time to live in the uncomfortable emotion of grief. Think about other uncomfortable emotions and when they are appropriate.
As a leader you need to understand and embrace emotional intelligence and learn how to respond intelligently instead of reacting. You will also need to understand where your team members are emotionally and adapt to suit.
“The only constant in life is change” – Heraclitus
We live in a constant state of change. Managing change is vital to being a successful leader. Innovation, regulation, transition… there are numerous reasons for change. How will you lead others to adapt to change and steer your team to beneficial outcomes?
Watch my Podcast Interview with Lata Hamilton on Leading and Managing Change
Setting Goals and Standards
You cannot hit a target that is invisible. Your team depends upon you as an effective leader to set goals and standards that are achievable and measurable. You must clearly define the target and coach the team to make adjustments when their deliverables aren’t meeting the standards.
Schedule and costs are two goals or standards that should be established and monitored for obtaining a goal. Breakdown projects into tasks that are easy to prioritize and track for the success of the team.
Team Building is not only pizza breaks, golf outings or fun activities. Team Building is growing your individual team members into a cohesive group that is working towards a common goal. You will need to discover where team members are lacking in skills and provide training and support to equip them for success.
Check out my blog on Team Building For Purpose
Visualizing the Future
I like to say “anyone can see the problem it takes a leader to see the potential”. Are you able to cast a vision for your team of their collective potential? It is important to show them not only the organization’s future success but also a path of success for them as an individual.
Forecasting what success looks like and inspiring your team to achieve success is a highly rewarding skill of effective leadership.