In order to become a great leader, we must first learn about exactly what the skills are that the very best leaders possess. No matter whether you are looking at politics or business, leaders around the world present the very same set of skills and qualities which is what helps to set them apart from the rest. Some of these people were born with raw skills and were clearly destined to be great leaders, others, however, were not born with the skills but over time they identified what those skills were and learned how to go about improving those skills.
One of the best leaders that I have ever known was Stacey Tokunaga, a woman who has worked tirelessly on her leadership and someone who I respect an incredible amount. I had the pleasure of working under Stacey for almost 4 years and she was not just a good leader but a great one. In Stacey, I managed to identify what the skills were to be a great leader and she was a great role model to me and helped me to become a strong leader myself. If you wish to become a great leader one day, these are the skills and attributes which you will need to display.
As a leader, it is your responsibility to motivate those who you are leading, and within this, you also need to understand your team and how to motivate them. Great leaders are able to identify how each person responds to different types of motivation and they use this knowledge to tap into what really gets the person going and revved up to perform. Great leaders should showcase that they understand their people and how to get the most out of them.
Respect is a massive part of being a strong leader and the very best are able to recognize that respect is a two way straight. Far too many leaders think that they deserve respect because of the position which they hold but this just isn’t the case, it must be earned. In order to earn this respect leaders also know how and when to offer their respect to the team. To give the example of working with Stacey, you could walk into that office and instantly see the level of respect that we all had for her, and that respect was very much reciprocated.
Leaders should never show favoritism and they should always be fair with every member of the team. This consistency helps to create a positive environment within the team dynamic and it is essential to secure team harmony and respect amongst the team. No matter whether this is celebrating someone’s success or scolding someone for something that they have done wrong, a great leader will treat everyone the same and ensure that consistency is key.
Communication is, of course, a key part of being a leader and what we mean b this is not just the ability to talk and listen. The role of the leader is to get everyone in the team singing from the same hymn sheet, everyone should know their role and what is expected from them and it is up to the leadership to deliver this message clearly and with transparency. In terms of listening a leader needs to know when it is time to heed the advice and when it is time to listen to what their team is saying. This, of course, is not going to happen every day, which is why it is imperative that a leader understands the right time to do use their communication skills.
At the heart of leadership, no matter which industry or situation, it is the ability to take tough decisions. This is not to say that great leaders always make the right decisions, of course, there will be times when they take a course of action that doesn’t turn out to be the right one. What is important however is that a leader is able to weigh up all possibilities and risks, all potential outcomes and that they have the confidence and the strength in their convictions to take the decision and back themselves. Within this, the very best leaders know when to take advice from their team or their partners, and they will take heed of the advice, regardless of whether or not it plays a part in the final decision.
Leadership is about passion, energy, and drive, it is about unifying a team so that they trust you to take them forward. Leadership is also about inspiring others around you and making people the very best version of themselves that they can be. If you want to be a leader these are the very basic skills which you must possess.