We’ve reached our final post of the 5-part series on Soft Skills. Today we will look at leadership and how you can develop leadership as a soft skill to progress in your business and career.
There are many qualities associated with leadership and a lot of people believe they do not have leadership capabilities because they lack confidence in some way. What they don’t realise is that leadership doesn’t necessarily require those specific qualities, and that some of the best leaders of our time relied on other less noticeable character traits to strengthen their role as leaders.
What Does It Take To Be A Leader?
Leadership can take on many forms, and there are similarities between a leader who heads 300 Spartans into battle, and the CEO who steers his company to the stock exchange.
Naturally, there has been a lot of research done into understanding the qualities and characteristics needed to be a good leader.
The list is extensive, but most resources seem to agree that the following are common characteristics among the top leaders that have graced our world:
- Ability to inspire others
- Definite purpose and vision
- Emotional Intelligence
Although the list does encompass good and honourable characteristics of leaders, I believe there are 3 that can be added, but are often overlooked or not even considered.
Decisiveness As A Leadership Skill
Besides the obvious benefit of time and money saved, being able to make decisions quickly will give you more control over your situations (and your life), will inspire others to trust you more and can boost your own sense of achievement and fulfilment. A leader’s decisions have an impact that reaches throughout their sphere of influence, so it is imperative for a leader to be able to make good decisions quickly.
5 ways to increase your decision-making capabilities
- Be clear on you goal – When you know what you are working for, making decisions in line with that mission becomes easier. If your goals aren’t clear, most of your effort will be wasted. Before going down a certain path, get 100% clear on what you want to achieve so you do not waste time on decisions and activities that are not aligned with your goal.
- Set a Time Limit – Think tanks & brainstorming sessions have a tendency to suck people in because it can be a high energy & creative environment that make people feel like they are contributing to something bigger than themselves. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but if not kept in check, it can lead to a whole lot of options & ideas and not much action. Setting a time limit for making decisions creates a micro goal that can be achieved quickly. As a bonus, you avoid the temptation of entertaining each rabbit hole that tries to derail the meeting.
- Keep Record, Recognise Patterns – This is where keeping a journal can be of great help. Keeping track of decisions made and actions taken will allow you an opportunity to reflect and recognise patterns. You may well discover that you have been circling back to the same problems year after year because the decisions you make all end up leading to the same results. In order to have better results, we need to make better decisions, and keeping a record is the best way to do that.
- Decision Reversibility – When it comes to making decisions big or small, being able to recognise if they can be reversed if needed is a great way to speed up the decision-making process. If a decision can be reversed or adapted in the end, you do not need to waste unnecessary time on it. Make the call and take action, then you can evaluate and change if you need to.
- Embrace Uncertainty – There will never be a perfect world in which one person has all the right answers. Learn to be OK with that. Once you accept that you will make mistakes, and that it will ultimately be alright, you will empower yourself to make a decision, even if you’re uncertain.
Anti-fragility As A Leadership Skill
Anyone familiar with Tom Bilyeu and Impact Theory will recognise this one. Tom’s passion is so obvious and contagious when it comes to being anti-fragile and building your identity around being a learner. For those new to the term,
Anti-fragility is a property of systems that increase in capability to thrive as a result of stressors, shocks, volatility, noise, mistakes, faults, attacks, or failures.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antifragility
Tom’s idea of being anti-fragile is adopting the identity of a learner. Someone who can grow and adapt and learn with each experience they face. Someone who can say “I’m not good at something…YET”
This mentality will serve you more than any other because you will be able to face difficult and challenging times knowing that there will ultimately be lessons to learn and experiences to grow from. It will allow you to appreciate failure for the lessons it can teach you.
Growth Mindset As A Leadership Skill
There is so much to be shared around a growth mindset, that we’ll do a blog post on it in the course of the year. For now, if you take only one thing away from this post let it be this: Your mindset determines everything.
It determines whether or not you believe people are good, whether or not the world is a good place and even whether or not you will succeed.
There is a Japanese concept called Kaizen, which embodies the growth mindset. Kaizen means “continuous improvement” and that is the crux of having a growth mindset. It means you build your beliefs around things that serve you and help you to move forward.
5 beliefs leaders with a growth mindset have:
- I am responsible for my life – When I believe this I am in control of my life and can make decisions to change my situation. If I don’t I adopt a victim mentality and believe life happens to me and is out of my control.
- I can change your life by changing my attitude – By changing your beliefs you can change your attitude and as a result the experiences you have will change. This is not a hypothesis. Studies have shown that people who have positive attitudes have a healthier disposition, longer lifespan, better self-image, increased curiosity and are more receptive to new information.
- My brain can change – What used to be believed to be an impossibility has been proven to be truth. You can change your brain through disciplined practice.
- Action cures all – fear has this tendency to paralyse its victims, HOWEVER by taking even the smallest action you can overcome fear and build the confidence to progress. The best part about this is, it it so easy to take small actions every day, so that means you do not have to conquer your fear and reach your goal all at once, but you can take on that which you can handle and progress from there.
- There is always a solution – there is always a way to get what you want. It may not necessarily be easy, but there is always a solution. Whether you create the solution yourself, research and find existing solutions, or get a team to develop the solution for you. There is always a way.
A Bonus Belief
Human potential is nearly limitless – If you doubt this statement, have a look at what mankind has achieved in the last 100 years. We don’t have wings, yet we can fly; we don’t have gills, yet we can breathe under water; we don’t have magic powers, yet we can have light in our homes (without even understanding the full complexity of an electrical system). There’s no other species on earth that is able to design and execute a way for themselves to survive outside their own habitat. If these great feats were created by ordinary men who chose to do great things, all we have left to ask is “what did they believe that I don’t?”
Thank you for joining us in this series of Soft Skills. Please like and share this post if you found value in it, and comment below if you would like to see more content like this.
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Until next time,
The SkillzTrader Team