The terms ‘management’ and ‘leadership’ are often be used interchangeably. In reality however, they are very different (if connected) disciplines. Each has a different role and each requires a very different skill-set. It doesn’t always follow that a good manager will be a good leader.
So what does it mean to be a good, or better still, a great leader?
The path to becoming a strong leader is not an easy one. The good news is that many of the qualities that are associated with good leaders can be learned. According to research carried out by the Chartered Management Institute, 90% of members who completed a management and leadership qualification found it improved their performance at work.
Benefits that come from developing leadership skills included the increased ability to influence and motivate people - as opposed to the usual management style of using power and control to manage workloads. Influencing people will help engender trust, encourage team bonding and ultimately turn you into a value-creator within your organisation. But benefits aside, what attributes make a good leader?
Daniel Goleman, author of ‘Emotional Intelligence’, conducted a study into over 200 global companies and discovered that although intelligence, determination and vision were key, they’re not sufficient to ensure effective leadership. Instead, truly effective leaders needed to have strong soft skills and a high degree of emotional intelligence (EI).
This is not to say that IQ and technical skills are not relevant. However, by developing your emotional intelligence competencies you can become a great and effective leader. After all, a leader with strong control over their emotional intelligence can calmly manage stressful situations and is therefore more likely to succeed against someone whose behaviour is negatively impacted by stress.
As you begin to improve your emotional intelligence competencies you may start to notice changes within the working environment. For example, colleagues outside of your immediate reporting hierarchy may start coming to you for advice. This is one clear sign that demonstrates your circle of influence is expanding and that your colleagues see you as a leader.
Another important area of focus when improving your leadership skills is personal effectiveness. These characteristics include:
Employees want to believe in what they’re working towards and the clearer their leader is at communicating, will make it easier for them to understand his/her mission, goals and vision.
The ability to use communication effectively is a skill that demonstrates individuals are transitioning from being a manager, someone who uses power and control to accomplish goals, to a leader.
Upon first reading, developing your personal effectiveness and improving your emotional intelligence in order to become a more effective leader may seem a daunting task. But with time and effort these skills can be achieved.
CABA runs a range of free personal and professional development that are ideal for future and present leaders to improve their soft skills.