I’ve met several people who have struggled to run businesses and even had to close their businesses because they lacked quality leadership skills. Maybe they don’t work as well with others as they thought or simply don’t fully understand what it means to be a leader. But that begs the question: are leaders just born, or can they be taught?
I dare to argue “yes” to both. I definitely believe that some people have natural leadership qualities about them, but I also believe that practically anyone can develop those skills if they put enough time into it. Here are a few of those skills:
I put this first because I strongly believe that this is the most important quality in any leader. Who hasn’t had a boss who’s arrogant and condescending? No one can ever take them seriously, let alone respect them.
Respect comes when leaders are kind, authentic and mutually respectful of those who look up to them.
Good leaders are passionate about what they do and sharing that with others. They’re excited, enthusiastic and positive.
John Gardner, an author, once said “More than any other attribute, this is close to the heart of the popular conception of leadership – the capacity to move people to action, to communicate persuasively, to strengthen the confidence of followers.”
Now, motivation shouldn’t necessarily mean monetary or other sorts of rewards. Motivative can be about someone’s attitude in tackling a challenge or leading a meeting. If you show that you care about something, it will become contagious.
Leaders take initiative – they don’t wait for someone else to tell them what to do or what should be done. They assess a situation and fills the needs.
It’s important to note that taking initiative on filling needs doesn’t always mean doing the job that requires the most responsibility. It could mean sweeping up a room after someone makes a mess or staying late to help someone finish up a difficult project. Leaders don’t just go for the position with the most reward – they go for the position that will help lift up the entire team.
Leaders listen. They don’t listen just to respond to others; they genuinely listen to others’ concerns and whatnot without thinking to retaliate. When others recognize that their leader is genuinely listening to what they have to say, they’re more honest and open and everyone can then work together to make whatever improvements are necessary to make your business as great as possible.
Ultimately, the best leader isn’t in it for themselves – they’re in it for the best of the whole. Even if that means getting down in the mud beneath everyone else, it allows them to lift others up. So wherever you are in your leadership training and skills, don’t ever be afraid to get a little dirty.
by: Emily Brady
Emily Brady is a content writer for AFEUSA. Her education in Communication Sciences with an emphasis in journalism from Brigham Young University makes her a great fit for AFEUSA. Emily enjoys writing and often works as a freelance writer in her free time.