Having good leadership skills is something that many of us aspire to. Whether it is to set a good example for our kids, or be an impactful leader at work, for our sporting team or even our state or country, most of us will be required to step up and set an example for someone else.
I have been fortunate through my life to have a number of leadership opportunities. Some successful whilst others have been learning experiences. As a business owner, I still have a lot to learn about successful and inspiring leadership.
Here is what I have learnt so far about good leadership skills:
Practice what you Preach
No matter who you are: politician, boss or sports captain, if you want to inspire others you need to lead from the front. If you set an expectation, you need to show that not only will you meet that expectation but exceed it. How can you expect people to follow you if you fail to live by your own standards?
Own Your Mistakes
It is ok for a leader to make a mistake. We are human. It happens. The question is are you brave enough to admit the mistake and even apologise for it? Politicians, for example, are regularly criticised for saying sorry without actually admitting fault. In my view, this is poor leadership. At some point, you will get it wrong. It is important as a leader to acknowledge your mistakes, look for the lesson and takes steps to rectify the situation. Short term this may attract criticism, but in retrospect people will respect you more for having the courage to say, “I was wrong”.
Encourage and Inspire
Over the course of my life I have been influenced by several different leaders. Those individuals have provided words of encouragement that have built my confidence and self-esteem. They’ve also allowed me to realise a potential I never knew I had. A great leader can bring out the best in the people they lead. More importantly they can identify when some words of encouragement are needed, or perhaps even a kick up the backside, to help someone fulfil their potential. Sometimes your actions as a leader will be inspirational without you even knowing.
Show Courage in Times of Crisis
In times of crisis people turn to their leaders for guidance. This is even more important in the current climate. A good leader needs to be strong, honest, level-headed, and informative during these times. You must put your own fears to one side and provide those that look up to you with a plan of action. It’s only during a crisis that we truly learn if we have what it takes to lead during difficult times. Only our peers can judge if we have delivered. If your first instinct is fight not flight, then there is a very good chance you have what it takes to lead people through a crisis.
Be Prepared to Put Others First
When it comes to good leadership skills, this is the hardest to fulfil. Most of the time as leaders our decisions benefit others whilst also being self-serving. But what if you are called on to make a decision that is the right thing but has an adverse effect on you? Can you put the greater good ahead of yourself?
Sometimes leadership can be a curse, a thankless task. It can bring with it jealousy and resentment; you can find yourself being challenged and undermined. Someone who possess good leadership skills will take all of this in their stride. Not only will they seek out, but they will also demonstrate to others, the best way to overcome these challenges.