We all know that leadership is necessary, and that little gets done without it. We are not all certain, however, how to provide that leadership. Whether we’re part of a leadership team, hoping to turn an idea into something more, or helping get a project up and running, the requirements of leadership can be overwhelming. There are some necessary skills that immediately come to mind such as confidence, communication, and inspiration which can leave us hoping enthusiasm is enough to carry us through. Enthusiasm is perhaps the best start possible yet it’s just that, a start. So how do we translate that enthusiasm into the needed leadership skills?
“A great leader doesn’t care about being the leader but instead cares about the mission, the vision, and the people they are leading.” — Scott Williams
There is no more important job as a leader than to convey the mission without losing sight of the goals that will get you there. You’ll be balancing big ideas against the small steps that make them possible. It’s a leader’s job to share that mission with enthusiasm in order to motivate others so the big picture should be included in everything you do. It will remind you what you’re working toward and help you shape the best path to achieve it. If it seems like no one else is sharing your vision, that can prove frustrating and our first instinct is often to blame others or question our own ability to communicate. As important as it is to resist the urge to blame, this is also the point where you can turn things around by using the most important aspect of communication: listening.
“When you become a leader, success is all about growing others” – Author Unknown
There are as many different leadership styles as there are personalities, yet the most effective ones require participation. Leaders have to be good listeners in order to encourage innovative thinking and innovation is necessary for another key leadership skill: problem-solving. If you feel like you have to have all the answers, you will never escape feeling overwhelmed and you’ll miss out on a lot of great ideas from others. Even if you find yourself listening to the same ideas you’ve heard or rejected before, talking them out will allow your team to feel heard and there is nothing more empowering than feeling heard. Revisiting old ideas can also lead to new answers when you revisit how to implement them and set expectations aside.
“The role of a creative leader is not to have all the ideas; it’s to create a culture where everyone can have ideas and feel that they’re valued.” — Ken Robinson
Being inclusive in the decision-making process will not only enable you to discover new approaches but you’ll discover how your individual teammates work best. By remembering that everyone works differently, you may discover an approach that wasn’t right for you but may be exactly how someone else can best serve that big picture. A good leader isn’t necessarily trying to befriend everyone on their team, but your teammates do have to feel like you are on the same team as they are. Getting to know them better will allow you to discover their individual strengths. You will discover their weaknesses too and the most important thing to remember, besides correcting them in private if possible, is to bookend constructive criticism with praise.
-California Center for Economic Initiatives works at the grassroots levels to support leaders by building an infrastructure where budding leaders can access information and resource on growing their community projects.
-Article Written By Dorian Dorey