No matter how many ideas are shared on good leadership skills, I believe a good leader is one who can respect, connect and also influence the people he/she leads. And of course how well you can articulate your thoughts and future actions to your team, good communication skills and good people connection are fundamental qualities of a good leader.
There’s nothing more demoralizing than a leader who can’t clearly articulate why we’re doing what we’re doing.
– James Kouzes and Barry Posner
Have you heard or read Martin Luther King’s speech “I Have a Dream”? The speech is remarkable and what makes it truly remarkable was that Dr King was able to present the thoughts of millions together articulately and all the listeners had the same thought that day – “That is exactly what my dream is.” He appealed to the common man’s thoughts and dreams and he was able to emphasize this one thought effectively.
These are the elements of an impressive, persuasive, and influential speech.
Kouzes and Posner in their brilliantly inspirational book “The Leadership Challenge” articulate these thoughts so well. I quote them here, “Dr. King’s “I have a Dream” speech illustrates how the ability to exert an enlivening influence is rooted in fundamental values, cultural traditions, personal conviction, and a capacity to use words to create positive images of the future. To enlist others, leaders need to bring the vision to life. Leaders have to animate the vision and make manifest the purpose so that others can see it, hear it, touch it, feel it. In making the intangible vision tangible, leaders ignite constituents’ flames of passion.
And there is something else you can learn when you actually listen to King’s speech. What you’ll hear is an audience that was participating. The people in the crowd that day were clapping and shouting back, “Yes,” and “Oh, yes,” and “um-hmm,” and “Hear, hear.” They were fully engaged. It wasn’t a one way street. King was in a conversation with them about their lives and about their dreams. They could see the dream he was envisioning and they were affirming it. They were telling him with their shouts and nods and claps and responses, “You have heard me, and you are talking to me about what I long for. You are saying what I am feeling.” Their shouts and claps prove that Dr. King’s dream was not his dream alone. It was the people’s vision. It was a shared vision.”
Some Tips towards Successful Leadership
If you are in a leadership position in your company, can you recall when was the last time you truly connected with your team, not in team meetings but when your team was able to share with you their thoughts and ideas on a larger scale, towards the main vision of your company or towards their career enhancement goals?
- If you are not doing it frequently, perhaps it is time for a resolution – to make time to inspire and admire your team, spare time routinely to motivate your group but first get to know them.
- If you wish to be a good leader, think first about your role model, list the reasons why you admire him or her. Evaluate how you can emulate the qualities that you marvel at and use them in your daily leadership roles.
- Always put your team first; never hesitate to give your people the credit they deserve. Give them the best and in return they shall give you their best. Develop strong peoples skills and encourage two-way communication and you shall see exemplary results in all fields.
- Do not execute performance reviews as a task to be checked off your list at the end of the year. Involve two-way communication and frequent meetings to analyze your team’s performance.
The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say “I.” And that’s not because they have trained themselves not to say “I.” They don’t think “I.” They think “we”; they think “team.” They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don’t sidestep it, but “we” gets the credit. This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done.
– Peter Drucker