The Leadership Skillset
First line management
No one teaches us the science of management until we’ve found ourselves managing. If you’re new to managing a group then this skill set will blend your experience with management theory and practical learning.
Leading for success
Experienced managers who may want to take the step to leading will discover how to combine their skills with new insights and techniques.
Leading with the “X Factor”
Whether you realise it or not we are all leaders in some capacity. We lead things, people, families, communities, countries and most importantly we lead ourselves. How do we know how to do this? Can leadership be learned or is it about natural talent? Are leaders born or made?
My first leadership experience
When I led a team for the first time some 25 years ago, I had no training, no coaching, no idea! I was a specialist who was skilled at her job and then one day my boss said to me “You are now in charge of the team of specialists so off you go” I hadn’t a clue so I just copied him. What I didn’t realise back then was that he was unskilled in leadership and didn’t enjoy leading people. I read a few books on leadership and talked to a few other leaders about it, yet each experience taught me a lesson. Mistakes were made and a very clumsy learning journey began and continued until I got a mentor and a coach.
Nearly 60 % of the UK workforce leave their jobs because of their manager or their leader. Is it because the manager isn’t leading or managing effectively? Or is that the leader is managing and not leading? What’s the difference and does it matter? In our experience of training and coaching managers and leaders we think it does matter very much.
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.John Quincy Adams
The difference between leadership and management
So, what’s the difference between leadership and management? Leadership is about creating an environment where the team can flourish whilst they carry out tasks. A leader listens, facilitates self- reliant problem solving and encourages others to be part of the decision making – and those are the key leadership skills. Management is about getting the team to do the tasks by telling and showing people what to do, when to do it and how to do it.
What makes a good leader?
In our training and coaching work, we meet many professionals who know exactly what they’re looking for in a leader. There’s the obvious qualities such as inspiration, creativity, honesty, collaboration and a special something people describe as the “X factor”. Charisma helps and yet we are all looking for a leader that can relinquish their ego when things go wrong and show us a glimpse of vulnerability. A leader that will look us in the eye and apologise when they mess up and one that will take ownership or resolve conflicts efficiently. A boss that will speak from the heart even when it’s a tough message to communicate. If you’ve been lucky enough to experience these leadership qualities then you’ll know all about the X factor, you may even have the skills yourself.
The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.John Maxwell
A leader is honest
When we can speak freely to our teams and show our humility that’s when loyalty, creativity, and the sparkle happen for leaders. It’s about being courageous enough to ask our followers w
hat they think, to gain clarity and to listen without becoming defensive. If leaders polish their listening skills and act on the feedback, then our X factor is born, and personal growth begins.
A leader listens
One way to enhance your listening skills is to mirror people’s feelings. When you ask your colleague “How are you?” They say “I’m fine” yet the way their tone, pitch and pace of voice doesn’t sound “fine” or maybe their eyes tell you the truth, or their posture. It’s often the hidden message that gives us the real data so is there a match with their verbal and non- verbal response?
The next time you observe this mismatch try openly sharing it. Try something like “By the way you say you’re fine, I’m not sure you are?” You’ll be surprised by the number of people who will open up with what’s really going on. Get their feelings out and then you know as a leader what you’re dealing with. We can’t communicate content with others until we know what’s going on in their heads and hearts…
Are leaders born or made?
The answer is both. With learnable, repeatable skills anyone can be better at leading. Find yourself a coach or take a course and try deliberate practice in a safe environment with others that want to learn a leadership curriculum. Get some feedback on how you come across to others, meet other leaders in our seminars and boost your self-confidence. Chances are you’re better than you think you are. Get in touch today to join our leadership courses and improve your leadership skills!