How do ordinary people use their skills and talents in everyday situations to become extraordinary, modern leaders? They do it through commitment and skill. Many people believe that leadership skills are inherent – you either naturally have them or you don’t – but research has shown that these skills can be very effectively taught with leadership training. Here are three important modern leadership skills that can be learned with leadership training.
Lead by Example
While leadership is often described as accomplishing goals through other people, your personal action is what’s needed to motivate your team to accomplish those goals. Consider what actions you can take that would set a good example and would show the team your commitment and respect for the work they do. Never ask an employee to do something you’re not willing to do yourself. Lead by example with your words and actions.
No list of modern leadership skills would be complete without “analyzing and practicing success.” A leader must know how to teach their team to repeat successes. Employees and teams who dwell on failures, blame and analyzing “what went wrong” can get stuck in a cycle of negativity. When things go wrong, own the mistake, explain how you’ll fix it and what you’ll do differently next time, and move on. Instead, encourage your team to spend time talking about what went RIGHT: what’s working? WHY is it working? What is our objective moving forward, and how can we repeat this success?
Be Able to Lead Change
Change is almost constant, so being able to lead a team through routine, daily change, or a larger change initiative, is key. Leadership training can instill the basic skills of leading change: establishing trust, listening and observing, and empowering others. Employees must trust you in order to follow you during change. In addition to keeping your word and demonstrating solid ethics, other ways you can establish trust are to demonstrate your competence, allow your staff some sort of additional autonomy or self-direction (such as setting their own work schedules), and to communicate straightforwardly (yet respectfully) at all times.
Rather than jumping in and giving directives during change, it’s instructive for leaders to listen to, and observe, their staff. Observe how the change might affect their daily work lives and listen to what they have to say. (This will also help instill trust in you as a leader.) Lastly, empower and encourage proactive staff involvement. The more your employees understand how the change benefits them, the team, the organization, and the customers, the more engaged and “bought in” they’ll be. Empower your employees to take actions in support of the change and then step back and watch them succeed.
For effective leadership training that uses engaging, real-world stories to teach leadership skills, watch Ordinary People, Extraordinary Results: True Stories of Great Leadership. Featuring Stephen Covey, this program offers four unique case studies which profile real leaders in business, healthcare, sports and education who were able to significantly impact organizational performance.