Table of Contents
2. Are Leaders Born Or Made?
3. What Makes A Leader?
4. Knowledge And Understanding
5. Skills And Ability Communication
8. Risk Taking
9. Value In Others: Recognition And Encouragement
10. Leadership Styles
11. The Four Situational Leadership Styles
12. How To Choose The Most Useful Situational Leadership Style 13. A Last Thought...
You've heard the expression "He/She is a born leader." Are all leaders born? Or can leadership be learned? This Factsheet takes a close look at the concept of leadership. It will give leaders who volunteered, were elected or appointed, a number of guidelines to help them effectively lead their groups. | Top of Page |
Are Leaders Born Or Made?
Leadership can be learned. We all have leadership potential, just as we have some ability to sing or run. Some people may be better than others, but each of us has a starting point to build on with training and practice. You do not have to be officially designated as a leader of a group to be an effective leader. Leadership is a process that helps a group to achieve its goals. Leaders and group members can mutually influence each other's ideas. "The person who exhibits leadership is ... someone that makes things happen that would not happen otherwise." (A.D. Edwards and D. Jones)
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What Makes A Leader?
Leaders should be well organized and have made time in their lives for their organization. Leadership requires commitment. Leadership is a mix of knowledge, values, skills, and behaviours. Each of us has beliefs about what characteristics an effective leader should possess. Different groups will also have different beliefs or values about what "makes" an effective leader than other groups have. Your group will assess your leadership, and your success may depend on how well your leadership characteristics match those that they value. It is important, then, for a leader to know his/her own abilities, knowledge and values and how others perceive them. For example, if "trust" is a quality which is highly valued by your group, then it is important for you to be viewed as a trustworthy person. By knowing your own strengths and weaknesses, you can also develop a plan to work on those areas you may wish to improve. "Recognizing strengths and compensating for weaknesses represents the first step in achieving positive self regard." (Warren Bennis & Burt Nanus)
A successful leader makes an effort to learn and practise skills. Some of the more essential components are: the knowledge and understanding of specific tasks; the skills and ability to communicate, build teams, vision, and take risks; and, a value for individuals, the group, and its responsibilities. | Top of Page |
Knowledge And Understanding
General knowledge about the organization, how a meeting is run, and the organization's business is essential. For example, an effective leader knows the purpose of the group or organization (why it exists), its goals (long-term plan), and objectives (short-term plans). He/She should understand parliamentary procedure, the role of the chairperson, and the purpose and design of an effective agenda. In addition, an awareness of the subject that the group is involved with is important. If you are a director of the Widget Association, you should know a little bit about widgets. | Top of Page |
Skills And Ability Communication
We tend to think of a good communicator as a good speaker. This is only partly true. Good communicators can express themselves clearly and with confidence. However, a key and often forgotten component of effective communication is LISTENING. A good listener hears not only facts but also feelings. Paraphrasing or restating the person's message in shorter terms is a useful technique. It helps to clarify the message, and it shows the speaker that you have heard what they have...
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