Leadership - It's'a Big Job Do You Have What it takes to be a Great Leader?
I feel like a perpetual student. I’m now about to complete my masters but if I’m honest I love to learn, which is a good thing if you like to lead others. Leadership is as individual as the individual and I don’t think there is one magic formula to follow. At it’s core leadership is about influencing others and this requires excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
Leaders are always learning
I recently read a paper about leadership which included quite a daunting list of what it takes to be a successful leader. It listed several key attributes and I have added a few from my own experience to the list below. Perhaps you too can add to the list of what it takes to be a successful leader. To be a leader is a big job. It made me realise why it feels so much like the job is never done.
Leaders Role Description:
Develop the organisation
Communicate in a clear and compelling way
Strengthen and direct culture
Manage the immediate environment and that of the organisation
Stimulate and inspire others
Communicate value to others
Create shared meanings
Set directionImprove performance
Design and redesign the organisation
Engage with others
Manage and distribute power
Be a politicians and diplomat
It’s a daunting list but it can really be brought down to a few key fundamentals – your ability to think ahead, empathise, communicate, engage with and inspire others.
Steven Covey rates communication as the most important skill in life; and his definition of leadership is the ability to communicate to people their worth and potential so clearly that it will profoundly influence their life. There is no formula for it or management tricks its about being genuinely interested in others. To do this you are going to have to communicate well.
Communication is the most important skill in your life
I was recently speaking about how to lead in the workplace and in light of the upcoming RUOK day was asked how to get others to open up to you. My husband and I were on a business trip and I was trying to articulate to him what I intended to share with the group and how it is possible to affect your environment and have others feel comfortable enough to open up to you. We walked to breakfast and the concierge, who we will call Wayne, said good morning. In minutes, he was telling us his life story about his childhood and how he turned his life around and hopes to inspire others. It was a great start to the day and funnily enough my husband said “I don’t believe it! I’ve been coming here for 12 years and he has never opened up like that to me but within 5 minutes you had his life story and his hopes and dreams!”
As a leader you have an opportunity to have a profound impact on others.
Communicate with Purpose
We have mirror neurones and through open body language and by removing barriers to communication it is amazing how differently people will engage with you. Some of these barriers may have developed over the course of your life, they form subconscious patterns of interaction and you probably don’t even realise you have them. The first step is awareness, then to do things differently can feel peculiar at first but if you persist then the results can be remarkable.
A client recently reported back that with a few tweaks to his communication style the whole atmosphere of his team had noticeably changed, so much so that other senior managers in the organisation were asking him about his team and what had changed. The changes he made to his own communication style had impacted the organisation in a positive way.
I’m passionate about communication because it makes such a difference to your life and to those around you but it’s always a work in progress.
Try this exercise: choose three things from the list above, observe what you usually do then make a concerted offer to improve just one aspect of your communication and see the difference it makes to your leadership. Let me know what happens!
If you’d like to discuss your personal style or to develop a deeper awareness or strategy for your communication and leadership, for yourself personally or for your team contact me directly on Kayte@voieconsultantsadvocates.com and I can develop a plan with you.
Kayte is a professional development specialist, a nationally accredited mediator (NMAS) and lawyer working in the area of workplace law, family law and IP. Her work is an outworking of her passion for communication and helping people find their voice.
In 2017 Kayte will complete her Masters in Law in Dispute Resolution. Kayte currently sits on the NSW Law Society’s Employment Law Committee.
If you’re interested in improving your communication or have a dispute you’d like advice on call Voice Consultants & Advocates today on (02) 9261 1954 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.