“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
The word ‘leadership’ conjures up a defining image of a charismatic person with a massive number of followers, taking charge to make an enduring impact. Someone like Martin Luther King Jr. or Gandhi. We naturally associate the quality of leadership with a rank or position of authority. How else can you inspire any change, if you do not feel entitled to do so, we wonder. However, leadership is really the skill to influence others to maximize their potential, devise a solution and make firm, positive choices. So if we really look at it, it is more about your conviction and far less about the title on your business card.
So, as you strive to make a noticeable contribution in your job, think of adding value that transcends the immediate objectives of the task or project handed to you. When you realize how your contribution fits into the bigger story for your team, department or company, you would stand out. You would stand out as someone who can handle the responsibility to take decisions. You would stand out-as a leader.
In light of the crucial benefits to your own professional growth and to organizational efficiency, in a larger context, it is important that you hone your leadership skills, every chance you get. Your goal should be to take initiative to facilitate action. Actions that reflect your leadership attitude, independent of the position you hold.
Here are a few leadership qualities you can consider while refining your leadership skills:
Steadfast, assertive and intuitive decision making: As a leader, you should be adept at formulating specific goals with reasonable timelines. You should have a deep understanding of the broader vision and orient the same towards innovation. Another vital quality is to preempt potential trouble areas and account for them in your execution plan. Leadership is as much about foreseeing the risks involved and intelligently adjusting them in your strategy roadmap, as it is about making tough choices.
Recognize and encourage excellence: Your aim should be to win the trust and confidence of your team to achieve shared goals. And an effective way to earn their cooperation is to acknowledge, value and appreciate their contribution to the results. For effective leadership is signified by how approachable you are as a team member or manager. It is characterized by how effortlessly your co-workers follow your advice and direction. Leadership ceases to grow if it is imposed through the agents of authority and rules. Do not overlook the exceptional efforts of the diligent worker who exceeded expectations. Be vocal and generous in your praise for your co-workers or direct reports. And if you voice such appreciation in a public setting or in writing, even better! You can have deep expertise over a particular function, however, if you cannot impart that knowledge for the benefit of others, then your leadership lacks inspiration. Encourage others to develop their learning repertoire.
Walk the talk: Let your actions exhibit solid professionalism. Only if you set high benchmarks of integrity and professionalism yourself, would you earn the respect from your team to expect them to do the same. Be conscious to integrate equality in your conduct. You cannot afford to not be fair and transparent in your decisions as a leader. That is the fundamental cornerstone of leadership. If you commit to a one on one meeting with a new recruit at 9 am, it is absolutely imperative that you make it to the meeting room by 9 am. And again, if you take the initiative to start a project or program, have the confidence to see it through to fruition. Have the mature outlook to go beyond pointing fingers at specific individuals or taking names and instead, recognizing the torch bearers who can work out a solution. Finally, have a single-minded focus to spot and reject unproductive efforts before they become the norm.
Communicate effectively: Strong communication skills and inspirational leadership styles share a great relationship. A great leader is a professional who along with providing regular, individualized feedback, eagerly welcomes feedback from his/her team mates on common objectives and intermittent issues. And you can welcome feedback only if you have mastered the art of listening. You need to be available for your team. You need to be present in such a way that allows your team the flexibility to air their concerns, suspicions, even their disagreements. Communication propels coordination and reconciliation of group efforts which is so essential for leadership to be powerful. Along with all this, you should be alert to any friction between individuals so as to out rightly dispel any negativity or rumours.
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Delegate: You need to be smart to understand that different people have distinct strengths. And you as a leader, should aim to delegate the different aspects of a project or a task according to the competence of the people involved. Leadership demands that you exercise the restraint necessary for creativity and actions to progress. So once you have contributed to the broader vision and assigned the various tasks to the best people you can identify-step back and let them own their decisions.
Embrace and Manage Change: Business conditions are not at all constant. Leadership is a function of sound business management, which in turn, is driven by the efficacy of the leadership in ‘Change Management’. Leaders should not only react efficiently to change but be proactive in foreseeing it and then devise strategies that are geared to embrace it. You also should ensure in your individual capacity that the information relevant to the transition is disseminated and interpreted accurately. Use your ability to anticipate the tricky bends and navigate them while keeping the cohesive team spirit alive.
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The system evaluates the resume on crucial parameters including how clearly your resume demonstrates the leader in you. The system provides illustrative guidance and the foundational framework to users on how they can express their leadership competence through their resume. In addition to this, the system provides extensive analysis of the expression of several other soft skills such as ‘communication’, ‘analytical’, ‘teamwork’ and ‘initiative’.
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