Leadership is one topic that has been largely misconstrued by a vast majority of people and it is not uncommon to hear that ‘Leadership is the act of leading a group’ of people but is this what Leadership is all about?
Leadership is much more. Let’s take a look at these definitions that mirrors what leadership is about in a broader sense.
“Leadership is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal.”
– Kevin Kruse (forbes.com)
“Leadership is the potential to influence behaviour of others. It is also defined as the capacity to influence a group towards the realization of a goal.”
From these definitions, we see that leadership goes beyond titles, position, hierarchy or having a huge following. It’s involves influence, being able to inspire others, motivate and direct them towards achieving goals.
While leadership is an innate ability for some people, it can also be learned. And even for those who have been naturally gifted with leadership skills, there is the need to keep honing these skills and improving. Some of these skills include effective listening, critical thinking, relationship building, problem-solving, decisiveness, discipline, empathy, influence, good communication, ability to delegate, learning agility amongst others.
How to Develop Leadership Skills as an Entrepreneur.
– Know your strengths
You need to become self aware of the skills and abilities you possess that gives you an edge above others. You then need to have a good mastery of these abilities and how you can use them to the benefit of others.
– Learn and show empathy
You need to learn how to understand and share in other people’s experiences, how they respond, feel or act under certain conditions. It could be as simple as making excuses for people when they do not meet our expectations, making your first feeling that of concern instead of anger.
– Be a Good Listener
Beyond hearing what people have to say when they speak which is absolutely important, you need to act on what you hear. This goes to show that you value and respect others and that their opinions matter. This would earn you respect.
– Learn the Art of Delegation
Assigning responsibilities and tasks and letting people carry out these responsibilities without you breathing down their necks is an art. This gives room for growth and with time, people can get things done with little or no supervision.
– Keep Learning
A good way to develop leadership skills is to be open to constantly learning and having a growth mindset. Learn from other people’s experiences, books, podcasts, mentors, articles, events, just keep learning. This way you’re on a continuous journey of personal development.
– Be Humble
You need to embrace humility and lead by example. Do not get intoxicated by power or position. No matter how high you climb, be willing to serve and be ready to walk the talk.
Leadership Pitfalls to Avoid
To lead effectively, you need to be aware that there are pitfalls to avoid. These things are not only destructive in the long run but can but can also
i. Trying to manage and lead your team members the same way.
You need to understand that people have different personalities and temperaments and a one size fits all approach would not work. Understand each person’s individual style and what motivated them to put in their best.
ii. Micromanaging people to a fault.
Is it good to delegate? Yes
Is it good to supervise? Absolutely.
But it then becomes a problem when you do not give room for them to execute their tasks and learn from the process. This does not give them room for growth and development and if peradventure you happen to be off the system, there would be chaos and breakdown because they cannot function without you.
iii. Believing you know everything there is to know.
You would not be able to lead effectively and raise other leaders if all you do is talk and never listen to your team. Give room for others to express themselves and air their opinions about issues. And when they do, commend their effort even if that may not be or bring the solution needed at that moment.
Make a habit of asking when you do not know and learn, there is no harm in this.
iv. Wielding power.
It is not by power or being authoritarian in your leadership style. Do not coerce, force or intimidate people based on your position. Rather influence positively by being a good example and practicing what you preach and letting your team see this.
v. Not acknowledging others or recognising their effort.
Treat everyone with respect and acknowledging, recognising and applauding their effort when they have either made an attempt or tried doing something right. A little goes a long way to show how much you appreciate them.
In conclusion, Leadership is not an easy task, you would meet with a myriad of challenges and people with different personalities. You would need to learn how to add value to others and even to yourself. Remember, leadership is beyond position and power, it is about influence and positive impact towards the achievement of goals.