Developing Leadership Skills
Developing proper leadership skills is important to both young, ambitious additions to a company and seasoned and experienced managers who know the business. No matter the age of the individual in question, chances are their leadership skills were not gifted at birth. The ability to lead takes practice, often failures are common in a young executive's life. We can not expect ourselves to get everything perfect the first time around; the ability to lead is no different. The key is to simply start. Take responsibility for a project, evaluate your abilities and success and grow from the experience. Chances are that next project will come easier and your ability to lead will have grown.
What type of leader should I be?
With so many “leadership styles” floating around, their definitions can get fuzzy, even completely inaccurate. Just because they are out there and implemented does not mean they will particularly work for you. Your personality, no matter your training or experience, will greatly influence your style. Lead by example, lead by coercion, lead by fear, whatever the style, there will be those that argument that the is the correct way. The best leaders know how to use multiple leadership styles to reach the greatest number of followers. The ability to influence a variety of people is something that can only come with practice. No matter the style, the most influential leader is powerless without followers. If there is no one will listen, for whatever reason, there is no leader, and there is no success. Practice different styles for yourself, do not force any, your style will come naturally.
Should I get help?
Even the best leaders need a hand from time to time. If possible, invest in a leadership course or hire a coach. They should not teach you exactly how to lead but instead, should give you a better understanding of what you are doing and what options there are to improve. Getting help also builds your confidence in your leadership ability. Knowing you have been instructed and put effort into becoming a better leader helps to actually make you a better leader. Effective leaders exude confidence since the situation or leader's inner feelings. Being seen as confident by followers instills confidence with them in you as their leader.
Understand Who You Are
Are you a leader? Are you being honest with yourself? Do not let yourself be discouraged by others that say not everyone is built to be a leader. What they are really saying is you do not have enough practice yet to be a powerful leader. Occidentally an unexpected leadership role is trust upon us and we do not achieve expectations of that leadership role. This can influence all future judgments on an individual's leadership ability. It should not. A failed leadership experience is a learning experience. Analyze what went wrong, how it can be improved and save that information for the next time.
What to Avoid
Do not be someone else. Every day we see a particular leader on TV or read about them in a magazine and think our leadership style should emulate their. Be your own person, develop your own leadership skills, figure out what works for you. Trying to become the next CEO straight out of the gate will not happen. Work at it, get trained and make adjustments to yourself. Everyone knows Rome was not built in a day, neither was Caesar's influence.