Do you have these 4 critical leadership skills?

A message from our CEO & Founder, Joseph Chou

Together, we continue to navigate uncharted waters across the globe, looking to our nation’s leaders and industry or business leaders for guidance and safe passage through these times.

At such a time in history, good leadership is critical and in recent weeks I have been reflecting on the qualities of good leaders, and how we can cultivate these skills ourselves, within our daily lives.

Leadership to me, is the ability to inspire, rally and influence others to do more, achieve more and to progress in the right direction. Being in a leadership position does not make you a leader – a true leader has people who will follow them regardless of their position or title. Whereas a ‘positional leader’ requires their title or authority to give out orders to get things done.

I personally believe everyone needs to develop leadership skills, characteristics and qualities – even if you’re not in a leadership position currently.

Whether you are a parent, wishing to lead your children in a positive way or looking to progress in your career – the ability to lead and influence others is crucial. After all, it’s impossible to do anything in the world all by yourself – at some stage, you will need to be able to engage others in your cause or pursuit.

From my observation and study over the years, a good leader always has the right mindset, skills, personal characteristics and management style which can be summarised as below.

1. Leadership Mindset

  • Inner strength

Of all leadership qualities, this is one I try to work on the most in myself. The ability to remain calm and poised even when faced with great challenges. The strength of a leader can help foster a sense of security and safety amongst others.

  • Clear vision

An ability to see beyond what others see, to see the broader picture or alternative perspective and a clear direction for what they wish to achieve long-term.

  • Dreamer /Possibility thinking

Most of us have dreams when we’re young, but as we grow older, we grow complacent and give up on our dreams without quite realising when it happened. A true leader always has a dream, and the mindset that it’s possible to achieve those dreams.

  • Embraces change

Some leaders have achieved a certain level of success but then stop there. But the world is continually changing, if you cannot adapt with the times, it’s easy to be left behind.

2. Leadership Skills

  • Preparation / Foresight

A good leader has the foresight to predict and prepare for change, challenges or a rainy day. They also have the ability to see the light at the end of the tunnel, in order to help guide others through.

  • Understands / ‘reads’ people

A fundamental aspect of leadership is understanding people and the ability to ‘read’ people. Sometimes leaders can recognise qualities or potential in others that others can’t even see in themselves.

  • Communication

If you look at all the best leaders around the world – be they Heads of State, or iconic CEOs of a multinational company – they are all great communicators. They are not only excellent at expressing themselves, they are also great listeners. You could argue that they are great ‘salesmen’ being able to communicate effectively their idea, vision, product or service to gain a loyal following.

  • Ongoing learning

Great leaders were once great students – and they continue to possess the desire to learn – to read more or learn from an even more successful leader or mentor.

3. Leadership Characteristics

  • Hard working and self-disciplined

True leaders possess an extraordinary work ethic and great self-discipline. Their success often comes as a result of high standards they place on themselves and a desire to work harder than others. In their work ethic and in all qualities, a good leader leads by example and always ‘practices what they preach’.

  • Selflessness

As General Electric CEO Jack Welch once said, “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” This attitude is vital.

  • Attention to detail

Leaders usually have to be able to look at the big picture, but good leaders also make a point of understanding the detail – as often, the detail will determine the success or failure of a particular pursuit.

  • Decisive

Becoming a leader means having to make a number of decisions on a daily basis, many of which will have a big impact on many others. A good leader is able to make difficult decisions quickly to be able to move forward.

4. Leadership or Management Style

  • Problem solver

When a leader is faced with a problem or challenge, they look for a solution first – and never someone to blame. In fact, a good leader will always take sole responsibility when things go wrong and give all credit away for any success.

  • Open minded

Being a leader doesn’t mean that you have all the knowledge or all the answers. A good leader is open-minded, ready and eager to listen to alternative ideas and opinions.

  • Delegation

A good leader recognises you can’t do everything alone. Therefore, it’s important to be able to bring the right people to the table but also to then ‘place them at the right seat’.

  • Works with people’s strengths

While some may complain about people’s weaknesses or failings, good leaders know how to focus on people’s strengths and grow their potential.

  • Generosity

In management, it’s not just a question of being generous from a financial perspective, but also to be generous in praise and recognition of others. Some people in leadership positions who feel insecure about themselves may criticise other leaders or other people. Great leaders will help inspire others to reach their potential and continually improve by praising their success.

And of course, on top of all these qualities, most importantly, a good leader always does the right thing, every time – even when the right thing isn’t necessarily the easy thing to do.

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