Good leadership skills include a range of personal characteristics backed up by knowledge and experience. Education is important for leaders, but the right personal qualities are far more important to leadership than educational record. The characteristics of leaders
The most important skills for leaders lie in the relationship and inter-personal domain. Leaders are visionary, motivational and inspirational people who are emotionally intelligent, trustworthy. Key leadership skills are communication, drive and ambition. Research conducted with the senior HR professionals who choose and shape future leaders identified the ability to motivate, emotional intelligence and a natural ability to lead as the most important characteristics for senior leaders. Good leaders possess a balance of characteristics and strengths in one area do not compensate for weaknesses elsewhere. The skills of leaders
Leaders need skills to back up their personal characteristics. They must be able to manage and develop people, communicate well, act as coaches and give constructive feedback and manage teams. Knowledge for leadership
While personal characteristics are essential in a leader, they must also understand the field in which they operate, with a deep technical grasp of the essentials. Leaders must also have commercial and financial skills, to allow them to understand how business works and operate with business acumen. Experience for leadership
Leaders also need a broad range of experience, encompassing different roles and, if possible, different industries. Because leaders need to cope with pressure and sometimes failure, experience of dealing with these and emerging the other side can be important. ILM has conducted detailed research amongst organisations to discover the skills they prize most highly in leaders and the position on leadership skills we outline here is based on that research. We found that senior HR professionals, while they value education like MBAs to a degree, are more interested in focused development for leaders, that draws out and develops particular characteristics and is tied to specific industries. Read more on our leadership research. http://www.i-l-m.com/about-ilm/skills.aspx
Here are some of the most common traits in the characteristic of leadership: * Empathy: Creating a legitimate rapport with your staff makes it less likely that personal issues and resentment can creep in and derail the group. When your team knows that you are empathetic to their concerns, they will be more likely to work with you and share in your vision, rather than foster negative feelings. * Consistency: Being a consistent leader will gain you respect and credibility, which is essential to getting buy-in from the group. By setting an example of fairness and credibility, the team will want to act the same way. * Honesty: Another characteristic of leadership that lends itself to credibility. Those who are honest, especially about concerns, make it far more likely that obstacles will be addressed rather than avoided. Honesty also allows for better assessment and growth. * Direction: Having the vision to break out of the norm and aim for great things --then the wherewithal to set the steps necessary to get there-- is an essential characteristic of good leadership. By seeing what can be and managing the goals on how to get there, a good leader can create impressive change. * Communication: Effective communication helps keep he team working on the right projects with the right attitude. If you communicate effectively about expectations, issues and advice, your staff will be more likely to react and meet your goals. * Flexibility: Not every problem demands the same solution. By being flexible to new ideas and open-minded enough to consider them, you increase the likelihood that you will find the best possible answer. You will set a good example for your team and reward good ideas. * Conviction: A strong vision and...
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