The key to effective leadership is a deliberate blend of core competencies. These competencies empower leaders to enable performance and achieve defined goals while managing the dynamics that come with leadership.
This means whether you are leading a team of two or a team of thousands, possessing these skills gives you the leverage you need to drive the required transformation.
This skill seems to be the easiest, probably because one thinks it’s just about passing information. That in fact, is just a fraction of it, especially for leaders. As a leader, you must learn that the mechanics of communication go way beyond sending and receiving information.
You must be able to express ideas and share information with clarity that excludes ambiguity and achieves its objectives. This is important because minor miscommunication can lead to unintended conflict which if not managed, can escalate to something even more threatening. This is why beyond the information set to be communicated, a leader must bring into play other factors necessary for effective communication. This includes the mode, time, place, and expressions used while tailoring it to suit the objectives of the message.
You must also understand that communication isn’t just about speaking but also about listening with the aim of understanding and not just responding. Listening fosters trust and makes your team feel that you recognise their concerns, questions, or contributions. The impact of this, in turn, fuels the effectiveness of your team.
PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS
An effective team is not a team without problems. It is a team whose leader has developed the ability to view these problems from the lens of opportunities and see them as enablers to improving existing practices pivotal to the growth of the team.
Leaders who lack this skill view problems as distractions thereby blocking all the growth possibilities it comes with. This in turn stagnates the team and undermines its productivity.
It, therefore, becomes imperative that as a leader, you develop the ability to approach and manage problems so it doesn’t escalate into a full-blown crisis. You must know when and how to carry the team along, gather the right people and resources for its resolution and map out a realistic course of action.
Contrary to what a lot of people think, being emotionally intelligent doesn’t mean being the Mr. nice guy. It however entails understanding your emotions and the emotions of others and harnessing this understanding to manage your relationships with them. Emotionally intelligent leaders are aware of their emotions and how they can impact their followers so they regulate them to bring out the desired effect.
As a leader, you must learn how to emotionally connect with your team because people may forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel, (Maya Angelou). This is where empathy comes into play, your ability to be aware and understand the emotions of your team and consider these emotions when you interact with them.
This skill helps you develop people in your team, deliver critical feedback in a way that doesn’t diminish their productivity, and become their go-to person when they need help navigating specific challenges.
This in turn builds a healthy relationship between the team and the leader. A relationship that fosters loyalty and mutual respect.
CONFLICT RESOLUTION SKILLS
This is one skill that separates great leaders from good leaders.
While a lot of people may think of conflict as a factor that can disrupt teams, it can also be viewed as a factor that can build meaningful relationships between members of the team. This means that how conflict is handled will determine whether it becomes a building block to a stronger team or becomes the disruptor that tears the team apart.
It, therefore, lies on the leader to develop this skill because the impact of its negligence will not only affect the team but also alter his credibility.
In the words of John C. Maxwell, author of ‘Developing The Leaders Around You’, “If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.”
However, for some reason, leaders find it difficult to delegate despite being aware of its importance. The result of this is that they become overwhelmed despite having the people and tools they need to achieve more.
It is also important to put out there that delegation goes beyond assigning tasks to people in your team. There is an entire body of knowledge behind it. One that must be carefully studied if it must achieve its intended results.
Beyond team optimization, delegation affords a learning curve and growth opportunity to the delegatee and inspires trust. A trust that prompts the delegatee to put in his best and live up to the expectations of his leader.
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