Leadership Skills

Leadership Skills – What Makes a Great Leader?

Napoleon once said: “One bad general does better than two good ones.” It takes a

moment for the sense of this to register, but it is the same as our modern saying that “too

many cooks spoil the broth” Having one set of instructions, even if they are flawed, is

preferable to having two sets of perfect directions that, when enacted together without

reference to each other, cause havoc…

This is the principle of leadership in a nutshell. It is all about maintaining focus

and creating positive outcomes.

The same can be applied to individuals who strive to become leaders. There needs to be

focus and determination. Advice can be given, but does not have to be heeded. History is

full of leaders whose beginnings were disastrous, and had they listened to the naysayers

of this world, the world would be a poorer place today.

Can Leadership be Learned?

Leadership can be learned. Some people are certainly born with leadership skills, but this

is not a prerequisite for becoming a leader. More important is dedication to the art of

leadership. Leadership involves understanding how to inspire, influence and control how

people behave. It is not a simple matter of shouting, or having a deep and booming

voice; or being great in physical stature; Gandhi possessed none of these attributes, but

managed to lead a nation and inspire millions around the world.

Evil Leaders

Sometimes, leadership may be no more than having a poignant message for a receptive

audience at an opportune moment. Of itself, leadership is neither good nor bad; the world

has known more than its fair share of evil and charismatic dictators.

Leadership Perception

In the world of business, the perception of leadership has changed from its early

days when it largely mirrored the military model of leadership from the top down,

with powerful individuals dominating large groups of less powerful people.

Anyone Can Be a Leader

Nowadays, leadership in business is far more knowledge-driven. The lowliest employee

may end up effectively leading the direction of a vast corporation through his or her

innovative ideas. Anyone with critical knowledge can show leadership. This is known as

thought-leadership. In other situations, leadership can be about taking a stand for

what you believe in, and trying to convince people to think and act differently.

Leadership Described

Leadership has been variously described as the “process of social influence in which one

person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task”

“creating a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen”; “the

ability to successfully integrate and maximise available resources within the internal and

external environment for the attainment of organisational or societal goals”; and “the

capacity of leaders to listen and observe, to use their expertise as a starting point to

encourage dialogue between all levels of decision-making, to establish processes and

transparency in decision-making, to articulate their own values and visions clearly but not

impose them. Leadership is about setting and not just reacting to agendas, identifying

problems, and initiating change that makes for substantive improvement rather than

managing change”.

Summary

There is truth to all of the above definitions, but they all apply to the ideals of leadership.

So what of leadership gone awry?

Thanks for Reading!

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