A Great Leader: Do You Have What It Takes?

What does an effective leader look like? What can you do to develop your leadership skills for the future? Fiona Beddoes-Jones, author of Thinking Styles, offers an insight into what ‘good leadership’ entails.

“Influencing others so that they choose to follow” is what leadership is all about. Whilst there is a wide variety of theories and models surrounding leadership, people often get confused as to how they can become better leaders. There is now broad agreement that leadership capabilities can be developed in the same ways as any other set of competencies.

Therefore, instead of ‘learning the hard way’, here are 10 Top Exercises to help you develop your leadership skills for the future in order to be a successful leader.

1.      Develop your self-awareness. Understanding yourself first and foremost will help you to understand others and to influence them thereafter.

2.      Be attentive to what is valued as being ‘intelligent’ within your organisation and ensure that you develop that.

3.      Use 360-degree feedback to learn how you are perceived by others within your work environment.

4.      Develop a thirst for learning. According to research, great leaders are always curious about the world around them and are keen on making a difference.

5.      Find a mentor and be a mentor. This may enable you to build some key strategic relationships within your organisation.

6.      Get a coach and learn how to coach others. It should be important to note that a coach is not the same as a mentor.

7.      Understand the team dynamics and the psychology of relationships.  This will help you in building supportive and cohesive teams.

8.      Monitor the size of your ego. Having an over-developed sense of your own importance means that you are likely to lose focus on what really matters.

9.      Be passionate about your work. This includes the people you do it with as well as those you do it for.

10.  Work on your project management skills. The best project managers have the ability to lead their project team and manage their clients while remaining flexible enough to focus on people and task issues.  

Having said this, it is however important to emphasise that leadership is very personal and is closely associated with your personality style. Likewise, your own sense of professionalism, integrity and concern for others will drive your leadership style. In other words, the type of leader you choose to become is entirely up to you.

Meanwhile, review the above list and make a note of the areas that need to be improved. Follow these guidelines, and may your journey to becoming a Great Leader begin!


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