How to Develop Your Leadership Skills

How can you develop your leadership skills?

Some people believe that leaders are born with the necessary qualities that make them successful as a leader.

While others believe that leadership, like many other similar characteristics, can be learned and developed through life.

For me, I think much of the debate depends on how you define leadership.

Defining Leadership
Defining Leadership

Let’s assume leadership means having an ability and desire to inspire and influence others.

Based on that definition, I can certainly see the argument that leaders are born with leading qualities when I see my son using his inherent ability to influence his little brother (and sometimes his parents) to do the things he wants them to do.

If leadership means being courageous and willing to speak out for the betterment of those around you, then I would think that leaders do not have to be born as such.

I have seen people who consider themselves introverts and overall followers become successful leaders when faced with an issue they are passionate about.

If we define leadership as having atypical intelligence, creativity and/or drive, then I am back to believing that it’s a trait you are born with, although you may or may not continue to develop that trait through your life.

So what does all this mean?

Anyone Can Be a Leader
Anyone Can Be a Leader

We all have areas of our lives where we have talent and ability for success.

If this is also an area you feel passionate about, you may exude qualities that are absent from other areas of your life.

So while you may not be a natural born leader in the strictest sense.

You can certainly overcome many obstacles and develop a desire and ability to lead when you are inspired to do so.

Let’s look at an example.

Say you are an animal lover, and you volunteer for an animal rescue group in your free time.

The group is planning a huge fundraiser but lacks the direction necessary to execute it effectively.

Without a leader in place, the event is destined for failure.

You may not be completely comfortable talking in front of others, making decisions for a group and managing others, but you feel so strongly about the need for the fundraiser that you are willing to overcome these challenges.

With the support of several volunteers who are experienced in various areas (marketing, event planning, community outreach, etc.), and your knowledge of the group and the background of the fundraiser, you successfully manage the group and event.

Possible? Absolutely.

Developing Leadership
Developing Leadership

Aside from having a passion that translates into action, there are several ways you can develop your own leadership skills:

  • Work on improving your communication ability, especially your ability to listen to others
  • Be willing to take risks
  • Network and look for ways to expand your contacts
  • Focus on working and living with integrity and respect for others
  • Encourage those around you to find their own leadership qualities
  • Be confident in yourself and your abilities
  • Know your strengths and be ready to ask for support in areas where you are lacking
  • Create a vision and share your vision to inspire others
  • Think positively and commit to reaching your goals

More than likely, you have been inspired by a family member, friend, classmate, teacher or public figure.

There’s something about them that you admire.

Now, think about their leadership style.

Are you prepared to be in those shoes?

Sometimes, the “life skills” needed to be a successful business owner, team leader and people manager are not taught in school.

Leadership Training in Entrepreneurship
Great leaders are not born.

Great leaders are not born.

They are people who take challenges head on and seek opportunities for growth.

Here are a few ways to make your personal leap:

  1. Lead projects (big or small) or manage events at your group.
  2. Get involved with activities at your school or within your community.
  3. Consider volunteering for a larger role in your field.

Mentorship

Having a mentor during entrepreneurship is an important part of your leadership development process. 

Learn about finding a mentor and how to communicate with them to get the most out of your relationship.

Traits of a Good Leader

  • Has passion for the cause
  • Asks questions
  • Identifies the strengths of others to delegate
  • Effectively takes responsibility
  • Can see things from another point of view
  • Uses encouragement to motivate
  • Praises publicly, criticizes privately

What kind of leader do you want to be?

In 1939, a group of researchers led by psychologist Kurt Lewin set out to identify different styles of leadership.

As you read on, become aware of your own leadership style.

What do you do well?

What can you improve?

How do you work with others?

It is possible for several aspects of each leadership style to be part of your own.

Autocratic (also known as authoritarian leaders): 

  • Makes decisions with minimal input from team
  • Clear distinction between leader and followers
  • Can be controlling

Democratic (also known as participative leaders): 

  • Involves others in decisions to build consensus
  • Provides guidance to followers and participates in group activities
  • Motivates others

Laissez-faire (also known as delegative leaders): 

  • Gives authority to the group to make decisions
  • Participates only when guidance is requested
  • Doesn’t define team roles well or motivate others

Recommended Reads

“How to Win Friends & Influence People” by Dale Carnegie

  • Fundamental techniques in handling people
  • Six ways to make people like you
  • How to change people without giving offense.

“The One Thing You Need to Know” by Marcus Buckingham

  • Managing and leading: what’s the difference?
  • How to be a successful individual

“Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” by Daniel Pink

  • Our third drive
  • Student vs. master
  • Motivation 3.0

“5 Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni

  • Absence of trust
  • Fear of conflict
  • Lack of commitment
  • Avoidance of accountability
  • Inattention to results

“The Leadership Challenge” by James Kouzes & Barry Posner

  • Research-based leadership strategies
  • Five practices of exemplary leadership

“Winning from Within” by Erica Ariel Fox

  • A contemporary approach to leadership and negotiation
  • Insights from Western psychology and Eastern philosophy
  • Master your “inner negotiators” to develop your highest leadership potential

“The 10 Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me” by Katherine Smith Dedrick

  • The 10 most important life truths
  • Wisdom for a growing career and life

Top Qualities of an Effective Leader

Here is a great article to read on: 3 Rules Of How To Improve Leadership Skills

Read my latest blog on: How Leaders Can Deal with Criticism

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About Maria Barina

Maria Barina is a mother and grandmother who worked for the NYC Board of Education as Laboratory Specialist Bio/GS for 26yrs till the age of 56. Her husband, after 37 of marriage, passed away from Lung Cancer. She came to myEmpirePRO to seek guidance on how to get freedom that an online business can provide. Freedom to her is being able to do what she wants, when she wants to and to show others they can do the same to. Since she done that she is able to do this by working anywhere she goes and became a mobile-prenuer

2 thoughts on “How to Develop Your Leadership Skills

  1. Pingback: Pros & Cons: Different Leadership Styles | Maria Barina Live

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