Good Leadership Skills

Good leadership skills, an important project skill, is a part of every-day life. Not only do we see the effects of good and bad leadership all around us. But most of us could easily find ourselves in a leadership position. Becoming a parent or guardian makes us an instant leader - like it or not. And good leadership is very important within a family unit.

In addition, most of us have jobs. Even if we don't want to be managers or supervisors, understanding the qualities of good leadership can help us evaluate current organizational leadership. This can either reinforce our feeling of satisfaction with the job, or help pinpoint why we are unhappy. We can then identify corrective measures we might take or decide that nothing will help the situation. Either way we are better able to see the options available to us. Understanding good leadership skills can also help evaluate governmental leadership.

Good leadership skills combine elements of personal skills ( character and self-esteem), relationship skills ( conflict resolution and cooperation) and other project skills (organization and problem-solving.) Therefore strengthening these skills will undoubtedly make us a better leader, should the need arise.


What is Leadership?

Leadership is one of several positions, within a group of people focused on achieving a specific goal. Some of the duties and responsibilities of a leadership position are to clearly outline a vision for a specific goal, and provide a general plan for achieving the goal. A leader is also responsible for group moral (sustained excitement about the goal) and cohesiveness (positive team interaction). Guidance, therefore, is a fundamental element in good leadership.

Leadership does not mean dictatorship. A dictatorship is nothing more than an abusive relationship in which the leader exercising complete power and control over those who must respond to that leadership. A leader is not - and should not try to be - perfect. No one has all the answers and no one is right all the time.

Effective leadership skills are very important. Without them, a leader cannot build support for achieving the goal. Supporters also suffer from the lack of good leadership skills. With no clear vision, they can easily lose interest in the goal. And without guidance, supporters may simply pursue personal goals and agendas.


What makes a good leader?

There are a number of qualities that are important in being a good leader. Overall, a good leader must have integrity, enjoy working with people and have basic communication skills.

Leadership Traits Essential in Becoming an Effective Leader:

• Values:

Effective leaders value trust and respect, in themselves and in others. If a leader is not always honest, whatever he or she says may be questioned. Instruction, criticism and even compliments could be examined for hidden meaning. And if a leader consistently associates with dishonest people, respect and support can be lost.

• Vision:

Effective leaders have a clear vision for the future - a goal to accomplish, and a general idea of how that vision can be fulfilled.

• Passion:

Effective leaders have to be passionate about fulfilling the vision or achieving the goal. If the leader appears not to care about the goal, chances are that the group will not care either. The passion of the leader is a primary motivator for the group.

Sometimes the basic goal or vision is pre-determined. A manager may be told by a superior what his or her team needs to accomplish. In this case, effective leadership could suffer greatly if the manager does not take on that vision or goal as his or her own.

• Strong People Skills:

Effective leaders have to like working with people. Being a leader implies having followers. A leader who would rather work alone and limits his or her interaction with other members of the group could easily be seen as unapproachable. Problems often arise when the leader is not actively involved in group activities. (Of course a balance must be struck between being an absentee leader and a micro-manager.)

Good leadership skills involve motivation, team-building, conflict resolution and the best utilization of group member strengths. This is very hard to do without some knowledge of each team member and how they interact with the group.

A good leader also sees the value of including group members in decision-making. Encouraging them to help refine the vision and offer suggestions for the best ways to fulfill it, inspires a feeling of ownership. If group members feel they are a part of the process, they will have a vested interest in its success.

• Strong Communication skills:

Effective leaders have basic communication skills. They understand the importance of body language, tone of voice, listening skills and clear, concise information content. This makes it much easier to avoid many communication problems.

• Ability:

Effective leaders have to be able to anticipate, organize and problem-solve. A good leader keeps an eye on the "big picture," anticipating potential problems that could affect the overall vision or goal. They also organize the operations of the group as a whole, coordinating individual efforts. Problem-solving is also a large part of good leadership skills. Any problem that cannot be solved by individual group members will – and should - be brought to the leader.

Good leadership skills include all of the above traits. If one is missing, effective leadership can be undermined.


How can I become a better leader?

I will earn the trust and respect of group members, through honesty, guidance and support.

I will be a role model for integrity, enthusiasm and cooperation.

I will maintain and convey my passion for the vision.

I will refine the vision and plan for fulfilling it by facilitating discussions and soliciting input.

I will practice good communication skills.

I will establish an appropriate relationship with each member of the group, and treat all members fairly and equally – without favoritism.