When creating and formulating this list for you I came to some aha moments.
First, you can make the case that any attribute should be part of this list. I was not running out of traits after search 10 different sources. I bet you are able to add qualities that are not on this list that should be. I will not argue with you that there are better skills not on this list.
Second, as a leader you should take the time to take a skills inventory and understand your strengths and weaknesses. Knowing your strengths allows you to leverage them for maximum benefit. Do not worry about the skills that you are lacking.
Nevertheless, more importantly, any weakness you possess can be overcome with your strengths and talents. Face your limitations head on and do not shy away from them or feel bad. You can be a success without be good at everything.
Another approach to learning more about yourself is welcoming feedback and input from others. However, if you are going to solicit feedback you must be open and accept their input. This input is circumstantial. You may appear one way to one person and the complete opposite to another.
The important part of welcoming feedback is that you allow the other person to communicate their thoughts. You cannot hold their opinions against them. If you do not like what they have to say this is an opportunity to change your behavior and make amends.
I examined 72 skills and attributes sifting through to create a top 10 list.
The reason I rank this the number one skill a leader must possess is that I believe it all starts from this point and moves forward. Leaders need to assess a situation and determine their involvement from the onset.
Questions you should ask yourself:
Answering all these questions as a yes (except for C) may suggest you should get involved. At the bare minimum, you know other would benefit from your leadership skills.
As a leader, you need self-motivation. At the end of the day, there is no one else to keep you moving forward. You may receive some energy from your followers. Unfortunately, this will not always be the case. During a difficult stretch, when everyone is beaten down and tired, after an excruciating challenge it may be difficult to look at the faces of others. When you go home, you have to look at yourself in the mirror. Self-motivation is going to get you up in the morning ready for the next challenge.
Vision accompanies self-motivation. Having a clear vision will help you move forward. A vision will help your followers coalesce around your cause. Take the time to define your vision at the early stages. Pay attention to detail and make it as clear as possible so that you can imagine yourself standing in that spot. You should consider the following questions about your vision:
Smell and touch may not typically be included when setting a vision. The reason this is important is that consideration for these senses helps you describe your vision in more detail. This detail ultimately leads to clarity.
It gets you out of a rut by thinking outside the box. A good question will make you think differently about a topic and help you identify whether it worth pursuing.
Goals should match your values. Understand your values as a leader cannot be understated. Values are your compass to life.
The one thing that you value most acts as your true north. Just as there are 360 degrees in a circle, you can have more than one thing that you value in life.
Understanding these values allows you to set different goals.
Great goal setters follow an action plan that is SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.
Goals need to be very specific. You need to know what the goal looks like. The same questions that were pertaining to vision still apply to setting goals.
You most know whether you are making progress and getting closer to achieving your goals. For this reason, goals are measurable.
Goals need to be attainable. You should be able to reach the goal you set. This is not to say they are easy and quick. Goals need to be something you strive to achieve while pushing your boundaries.
Realistic is crucial to the execution of the goals. When you set goals, you need to be aware of the resources that are available. Some goals demand access to critical resources.
Goals also need to be timely. When you set a goal it needs to be something that is achievable within the period you set. Note that there are both long term and short-term goals.
Moreover, the timing of the goals is important. Perhaps achieving the goal after a deadline may no longer matter.
Having goals is a great start for a leader. Nevertheless, as a leader you must decide which goals to pursue. You also need to decision making to determine the best approach to achieve these goals. Some paths are easier than others are. Knowing how to make decisions will help you choose the most effective and efficient journey.
You cannot plan for every situation. Yet, if you possess a number of these skills, you are likely proactive enough to plan for most things. Having a plan in place will allow you to adapt to change. When you have a plan, you are actually planning for success.
Leaders are fearless. They are willing to take measurable risk. This measurable risk allows them to take action without paralysis. Having these other qualities in place allows you to minimize risk. Note that fearlessness does not mean you are reckless.
Does anyone question why listening would be on a leadership skills list? As a leader, you need to have the pulse of your community. To find this pulse, you need to be aware and listen routinely. Just because you hear what others say, does not mean you act. Remember you are the leader.
As a substitute teacher, I hear students say a variety of things. In some cases, I know they have no idea what is coming out of their mouth. At the same time, I have been around these kids long enough to know that topics in their discussions are fluid. By fluid, I mean that these conversations change quickly. Therefore, I am able to do one of three actions. First, I could yell across the room. Second, I can walk over and join the conversation. Three, I can listen and adjust my plan and what I am going to say accordingly. The third option usually works the best for this type of situation. As a result, the students are generally receptive.
If you want to be a leader, you need to be flexible. Problems are always going to be present. When you encounter these challenges, you need to remain flexible and think on your feet. Modify the existing plan and if necessary set a new mini goal.
You can have many different qualities and attributes that are not on this top 10 leadership skills list. Everyone is different and has the power to use their abilities to their advantage. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses allows you to be effective. To give you an idea of the skills that were considered when developing this leadership skills list, here are 62 additional leadership skills you can leverage.
David Moriarty writes about leadership, life purpose, and cancer recovery. He is a teacher who works with youth. Previously he overcame his battle with cancer. Currently he is pursuing a degree in leadership.
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