The Vital Skills Every Leader Should Master
“The most important single ingredient in the formula of success
is knowing how to get along with people.”
– Theodore Roosevelt
Many junior and mid-level managers find difficulty with achieving success at work not because they do not have the intelligence, academic training, and technical know-how. It is not unusual to find unsuccessful managers who struggle with their job only because they do not have the right people skills. Simply put, people do not like them. It is true that leadership is not about popularity. But it is also important to have the respect, if not the admiration of people in order to move them to accomplish the tasks you need to do. While there are many specific people skills, the most important skills is the ability to see the best in people. When a leader or manager is able to see the best in people, he or she becomes a source of encouragement, which in turn, motivates a staff member to do better at work.
There are also cases when managers fall into episodes of depression because they find it hard to motivate a team. Some can even be so stressed out about their jobs that the only relief they can find is to take anti-anxiety medications. But whether one needs to take medication or not to relieve the stress, the bottomline is that a poorly led group does not meet the targets and the desired performance As a result, both the team and the leader suffers. Whether the business is about real estate, banking, consumer product retailing, or business process outsourcing, many of the managerial challenges are about the same thing: moving people towards achievement. Any way one looks at it, the greater burden falls on the shoulders of the leader who has to steer the group to accomplish their objectives.
But why do some leaders fail?
One of the most common mistakes made is thinking that having a position automatically makes a person a leader. As the cliché goes, respect is not given but earned. It is the same way with leadership. When people see that a leader has a habit of being anxious or if the manager communicates fear instead of courage or confidence, they also become anxiety-driven and lose their confidence. In short, the leader or manager must be able to inspire confidence and faith. However, a confident leader and manager would not be able to muster those skills and traits if there is no competence. Team members or the staff also need to see that the person they are following is competetent enough to lead.
Another common mistake is to have limited or insufficient communication with members of the team. Oftentimes, when members of a group grumble or express dissatisfaction, it is not necessarily because they dislike the leader, company, or organization they belong to. Usually, these members only need to verbalize their frustrations or needs. If the leader does not pay attention to these signs, the minor problems can and may escalate into real, major headaches. When a leader or manager pays attention and takes time to listen to each and every member of his staff, that makes the staff feel and know that they are important. Work-wise, it is important to keep communication skills very sharp so that the leader or manager can verbalize in conscise yet clear terms what needs to be done. Lack of communication leads to information gaps that cause many otherwise good teams to underperform. A leader must also learn to speak words of healing and encouragement during times when the team is suffering from low morale. The ability to provide professional and personal counseling should be part of every manager and leaders skill sets.
In summary, leaders who are self-confident, competent, and have genuine appreciation for each member of his staff can and will succeed. With his people skills, he is able to show that he really cares about the individuals in the team, and not just about the targets and goals. With sincerity, patience, and concern, a leader takes the time to speak to his team so that he can provide the emotional stability needed by followers regardless of the job or organization they belong to. Indeed, taking care of the well-being of the team ultimately leads to good performance, which is what every leader should be concerned about.