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iManage, Issue #20 -- Can You Define Leadership? 3 Steps to Identifying What Makes a Good Leader
March 08, 2011


Can You Define Leadership? 3 Steps to Identifying What Makes a Good Leader

Successful leaders are all around us, whether they coach the local soccer team, run a successful organisation or have a political career.

They may have different styles of leading - and yet they all seem to work. So if you have to lead and inspire others, how do you decide on the right approach?

Here are 3 steps to help you define leadership, so that you can adopt a leadership style that works for you and your business.

Step 1: Choose the Right Followers

If you are someone who likes to see results and move quickly, you may tend to hire those with a similar outlook. A good leader takes a step back, and aims to create a balanced team with a range of skills. These include the strength to challenge, the ability to find the small but important detail, the skill to network with key players, the creativeness to come up with new ideas and so on.

Sometimes switching people into roles that suit their strengths can make a big difference. At the same time, a good leader has the courage to identify people who do not have the skills and abilities needed and take them out of the team if necessary.

Step 2: Be Worth Following

We expect a lot from our team members. We typically want them to be hardworking, reliable, truthful and positive in their outlook. We cannot expect them to behave in this way unless we show the lead. For example, how do you react to adversity? If you are consumed with worry, this will come across and will have a negative impact on morale. Good leaders take the time to develop self-awareness. They examine their fears, work to minimise them and learn coping strategies. They are conscious about the message they are sending by their body language, tone of voice and their words.

Step 3: Use Different Routes to Get You to Your Destination

There is no one "right way" to lead. Good leaders know how to adapt to the person and the situation. For example, at an individual level, some team members might need your support and guidance to make progress. Others may feel stifled by it - they thrive on being left to use their own initiative. Learn to recognise the differences in your team members and consider how best to interact with them. At a business level, there will be times when you need to move swiftly and decisively, for example if you have a safety issue to correct. At other times, you may benefit from considering the views of all your employees, for example if you are considering a significant change in the business.

Think about the leaders you admire. What is it about them that makes others follow? Do they possess traits that you could adopt? A good leader is always learning, developing their awareness of situations and relationships, noticing what works - and what doesn't.

For more ideas on the topic of leadership, register for our free webinar: "How to Lead and Inspire Your Team" on Tuesday 22 March, 7.30 pm - 8.30 pm GMT.

If you missed our last webinar, you can still download a recording along with the companion workbook: "How to Communicate Effectively in the Workplace". Use these tools to make real change in both your work and personal life.

For a full list of our management workbooks and free templates, click here.

Best wishes

Ann Halloran

Practical Management Skills

Practical management skills advice for business owners and managers. Get best practice tips on a wide range of topics such as time management, leadership, communication skills, managing change and more.

Content based on 30 years management/consultancy experience gained in a wide range of business sectors.

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