Being a great leader takes a lot of practice, the more you practice the better you become. There are many different types of leadership styles, history has shown is this time and time again. I personally have over 20 years of management and leadership experience. Some of my leadership skills are natural, but there a few that have developed over time and experience. I am continually challenging myself to grow as a leader. I am not afraid to make mistakes. There are many skills that a great leader needs to have. These are just three examples from my own personal experience.
A great leader leads by example. For many years I have watched others lead and I have seen some really great leaders. I have even had the opportunity to work for some of these people. By working for great leaders, I have developed some awesome leadership skills. Leading by example is one of the toughest skills to do every day. I strive to always do my best in every aspect of my job. I show up early, because I expect others to be on-time. I never ask anyone to do anything that I wouldn’t do myself. This is a paramount detail in building rapport with a team. If it’s 100 degrees outside and my team is unloading a container, I will roll up my sleeves and lend a hand. I want them to know that they are not alone. As I mentioned before, I have learned a lot from other leaders. If I am leading by example, I have the opportunity to pass along the skills I have been given. Great leaders mentor and cultivate future leaders.
A great leader is approachable, accessible and open. Many times in my life I have had people tell me that they are intimidated by managers and leaders, they have even told me that they were intimidated by me at first. I used to chuckle when people would say this, as my career grew and I got into more advanced leadership positions, I realized that this actually was happening. I am a very direct person by nature and this particular trait does intimidate others, sometimes. As I have matured as a business and community leader I have become a better communicator. Today I am open, accessible and approachable. The team I work with knows that they can tell me what is on their mind. The reason for this is that even though I am direct, I am kind and compassionate too. My team knows that I am there to help them succeed. I work hard to build a rapport with my team and encourage them to share their point of view, safely. This is what makes a leader a great leader, willingness to listen and lead.
A great leader is accountable. Accountability is a valuable trait. In my last blog, Be a Man of Your Word. I mentioned the fact that sometimes your word is all you have. When leading a team, you have to build trust with your fellow members. As a leader it’s not about someone else trying to lead me. It’s about getting things done as a team. When my boss or one of my team members asks me to do something for them, I try to do it right away. This shows them that I am attentive and accountable. It also validates their effort and lets them know they are valuable. I need support my colleagues so they will support me. Bottom line, if I say I am going to do something, I do it to the best of my ability. Great leaders support and help those around them succeed.
These are just a few examples of great leadership skills that I use and continually work on to a better leader. Do you have skills or experiences that you would like to add? Please feel free to comment in this conversation.