More than a few books have been written on what qualities or traits a leader needs. For some it might seem overwhelming – all the traits and skills a leader must have, but it does not have to be overwhelming. Here are five basic leadership skills every leader needs. If you can work on even just one of these at a time, you will become a much better leader and be able to lead more effectively and efficiently.
1. Effective communication – a leader needs to be able to speak clearly and efficiently. They should not waste time babbling on about unimportant things. They need to make use of every opportunity they have to talk with those under them and they need to not overwhelm them with what they say. They also need to be willing to carefully and patiently reiterate what they said if it is not understood the first time. At times, a leader must use non-verbal means of communication to get the point across. So be sure to always analyze what you say and do to be certain that you are communicating effectively.
2. Clear vision and distinctive goals – a leader should always have a vision or goal for the future. Think about this, if a leader is leading a group of people through a blizzard and decides to set no goals or direction, where do you think they will end up? Well, probably they will not end up anywhere they would want to be. They might even die because they got stuck out in the cold. It’s the same way with everything else; if a leader has no vision or direction, then the entire group will get nowhere and might even die (NOT literally though). A vision is important because it provides a reason for the group or organization to exist. Leaders should always be considering their long term goals and then structuring their short term goals so that they help accomplish the long term ones.
3. Continued learning and coaching – you probably had someone who helped you and mentored you when you first started leading a group of people. This might have been your boss, pastor or someone else. Once you got the hang of things, you probably thought you could lead on your own right? Well, a leader really needs to always continue to learn how to lead. When a leader stops and thinks they have it all together then they set themselves up for failure. It is imperative to have a mentor or close friend who can offer advice, council, and even rebuke. We all make bad choices at times, and when you have a mentor or coach and are willing to learn, you will minimize the mistakes you make.
4. Good decision making abilities – one of the biggest jobs a leader has is decision making. They must make the decisions for themselves, and all those who are following them. Good decision making skills come from experience and learning from others. Whenever you have a decision to make, consider the decisions other people have made in a similar situation and use that to help you. Also, and this is very important, rely on God to help guide your decisions.
5. Positive attitude and outlook on life – lastly, a leader must always keep a positive attitude and outlook on life. A leader sets the example for others, so the leader must always try to be enthusiastic, excited, and positive. It’s not always easy, but when you rely on God, he will help you out on those tough days.
Leading others can be difficult and challenging but if you implement these five basic leadership skills in your life you should be able to lead a lot more easily and effectively.
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