Great Leadership Skills In Four Essential Steps

Great Leadership Skills In Four Essential Steps

Uncovering The Secret To Great Leadership

It was writer Kenneth Blanchard who mused, “The key to successful leadership is influence, not authority.” And whether you’re planning your next great leadership training or you feel like your own leadership skills need some work, Blanchard is right: influence is everything. It’s no industry secret that leadership skills are important for success in any career. That’s because they affect everything from your ability to affect change to the way your colleagues feel about you.

Perhaps the secret of leadership training is actually looking inward. By first working on your own leadership skills, you’ll be better prepared to help others realize their own potential. Our best leadership training skills for anyone in a position of influence actually focus on first, the consideration of how you affect others. Once you’ve mastered that, you can learn how to use that impact to guide, direct, and change the way you (and those around you) think about the call to lead.

4 Key Steps To Help You Lead Successfully And Effectively

1. Get To Know Yourself And Your Values

Before you can convince others to follow you, you need to make sure they know exactly what you stand for. In some cases, you might not even know that yet. The key to understanding others and their motivations is by taking the time to examine your own and being willing to challenge your assumptions, ask yourself questions, and commit to change and becoming better every day. Doing so has two key advantages in training yourself to lead and, eventually, developing impactful leadership training for those with whom you work:

  • Defining your leadership style
    Not everyone leads in the same way, and what works for others might fall flat when you try it. That’s because true leadership comes from authenticity: staying true to who you are as a person. Hey, if you’re not the best at public speaking, your leadership style might not be the charismatic person drumming up enthusiasm at the beginning of a training session. You might, however, be great at leading with empathy and listening before making decisions. Use your strengths to define your leadership style and your influence will feel more natural.
  • Finding your sphere of influence
    Once you’ve nailed down the type of leader you are or want to be, you’ll need to then understand your personal sphere of influence. Here’s the thing: you don’t need to be an executive to be an effective leader. Instead, you can start where you are by looking around you and finding opportunities for influence. Maybe your sphere of influence encompasses your department rather than the entire organization; that’s a great place to start! Work within that sphere to get to know those you lead, understand their motivations and build trust. When it’s time to make decisions, you’ll find that if you’ve cultivated relationships within your sphere of influence, it’ll be easier to make changes and lead effectively.

2. Understand Others

When you hear the word “empathy,” what comes to mind? You might see it as a “soft” or even passive word; how would that help you to become a more decisive and influential leader? Don’t knock it until you try it: empathy, the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, might be one of the most effective training tools in your arsenal. Taking the time to understand others means you’re better able to meet their needs, reduce their barriers to success, diagnose their issues, and eventually work with them to encourage growth and development on a personal level.

Leadership can seem like an overarching skill, but it begins with personal relationships on a cellular level. Empathy and trust are what increase your ability to influence others as they see you lead shoulder-to-shoulder with them. When developing leadership training, it should be clear that there’s plenty of space for personal leadership development. Your skills shouldn’t be a closely guarded secret, but one you’re willing to share as you cultivate true relationships through empathy. You’ll find that the best way to become a role model for leadership is to offer others the opportunities to lead and excel on their own levels.

3. Set And Align Leadership Goals

Where do you see yourself in one year? Three years? Ten? Goal-setting gives you the chance to take stock of your current status, possible leadership gaps, and a blueprint for meeting your overall objectives. While it’s great to have personal goals, the leadership part forms when those personal goals are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Think of it as a puzzle: your organization might have all of the edge pieces securely in place but is missing some of those key leadership pieces that fit into the big picture. By understanding organizational goals, you can plan leadership training to help fill those gaps and complete the puzzle.

When aligning your personal leadership goals with your organizational objectives, remember that it’s not a one-and-done type of training. Consistent checks along the way keep you on track and help you reroute if something isn’t working. If you think team building is a missing piece, for example, and your current leadership training isn’t resulting in a robust, confident, and collaborative work environment, it’s probably time to identify the underlying issues. After all, a good leader doesn’t forge ahead while leaving good people behind.

4. Take Action

One of the most underrated leadership qualities? Agility. It can be hard to pivot and make quick decisions when you’ve already set down a certain path. Luckily, taking time to get to know yourself, working to understand others, and setting actionable goals should result in better decision-making overall. Even with the best preparation, however, mistakes can be made. The difference between a good leader and a great leader is the ability to act and then reflect. Leadership is taking action every day but also taking responsibility for those actions; for better or worse. “Action” might seem like a difficult skill to teach, but it comes in different forms. “Action” might actually look like this:

  • Conflict management
    Facilitating a constructive conversation between two team members who have differing opinions on how to approach a project, and helping them find a compromise that integrates both perspectives.
  • Setting expectations
    Clearly outlining the deadlines, quality standards, and specific deliverables for a project during a team meeting, ensuring that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities.
  • Assessing goals
    Conducting regular performance evaluations with team members to review their progress toward individual and team objectives, providing constructive feedback and guidance for improvement.
  • Volunteering for leadership opportunities
    Taking the lead in organizing a company-wide community service event, coordinating logistics, and rallying team members to participate in giving back to the local community.
  • Delegating leadership opportunities for high-potential employees
    Assigning a high-potential employee the responsibility of leading a cross-functional team for a critical project, giving them the chance to showcase their leadership skills and make strategic decisions.
  • Suggesting changes to processes
    Identifying a bottleneck in a specific workflow and proposing a revised process that streamlines operations, reduces unnecessary steps, and improves overall efficiency.
  • Motivating and encouraging your team
    Organizing a team-building activity or outing to foster camaraderie and boost morale, while also individually acknowledging team members’ achievements and expressing appreciation for their hard work.
  • Proactively finding solutions
    Anticipating a potential issue in a project and proactively brainstorming alternative strategies or contingency plans to mitigate risks and ensure a successful outcome.
  • Rewarding successes
    Recognizing an employee’s outstanding performance by publicly acknowledging their achievements during a team meeting and presenting them with a personalized certificate or a small token of appreciation, such as a gift card or additional time off.

Unleashing Leadership Excellence: The Journey Begins Now

Leadership training doesn’t need to be formal. In fact, some of the best leadership training happens naturally, by example, and in practical settings. By keeping your overall goals in mind and looking for opportunities to put others in the lead, your natural authority can become a powerful influence on a daily basis.

ELM Learning

We create meaningful learning experiences to build community within an organization. Our learning programs get measurable results because we combine neurolearning® principles, design thinking, and compelling storytelling.