Think of a leader you admire… what do you admire most about them? Is it the way they are able to create a compelling vision? Is it the way they handle difficult situations? Is it their communication skills?
In my experience, effective leader’s demonstrate strong interpersonal skills and are able to:
- Actively listen
- Define clear goals to work towards
- Encourage development of mutual respect
- Ensure an individual’s contributions are valued
- Clearly express the culture of the organisation in an inspirational way
- Engender good two-way dialogue
- Identify an individuals’ capabilities and builds on them
- Delegates work clearly and appropriately
- Proactively seeks and gives constructive feedback
- Acknowledge and celebrates an individual’s successes
- Effectively addresses questions and concerns
- Articulate a compelling vision and purpose for team and business
- Focus 100% on an individual when meeting one-on-one
- Keeps an individual appropriately informed
- Role models the organisation’s values
Take a look at each of these basic interpersonal skills and see how they contribute to the making of an effective leader:
Communication skills: Many leaders are eloquent speakers. It is all about articulating their ideas in a meaningful way, both in written and verbal form to ensure the message gets through.
Facilitating skills: Effective leaders liaise with team-members and arrive at the best possible solution. There could be diverse ideas and perspectives for any single agenda, but an effective leader will work towards reaching a consensus. Their approach is collaborative.
Leadership skills: Effective leaders inspire others to accomplish the goals planned with commitment and dedication. They help others to see the future and work towards that.
Mentoring skills: They provide constructive feedback and guidance wisely as and when required; so in a timely manner. They don’t let things fester but have difficult conversations to work through issues. This helps people in recovering from any hurdle or challenge.
Negotiation skills: Resolve any such conflict by agreeing to the terms which are acceptable to both parties. Think of a win-win situation, create and maintain a cordial relationship among others.
Influence and Motivation skills: Using a combination of both communication skills and leadership skills, effective leaders influence, persuade and motivate others.
Decision making skills: An effective leader has to make countless decisions based on the best available information. They don’t procrastinate over hard decisions.
Planning: An effective leader takes certain strategic decision about the future. They align everyone to work in the same direction, developing plans to achieve the overall vision and goals.
Integrity: An effective leader builds trust, fosters collaboration and facilitates sharing of information. In this way, an effective leader creates a solid team who supports each other’s views.
Team work: Cooperating with fellow members while nurturing their aspirations is a trait of an effective leader. Through team work, a leader develops a sense of collaboration while working with his peers and subordinates.
Stress management: A leader manages stress effectively and has high emotional intelligence.