New Directions

By Jim Ward

New Directions
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What is Leadership?

Leaders move others by caring, by inspiring, and by persuading” – Donald Phillips

At some point in our career, we have all worked for great leaders. You know it when you see it. Someone who expects the best from their subordinates, quick to praise, but even quicker to offer constructive feedback. This is a boss who is tough but fair, someone who has high standards for themselves as well as others. ¬†Sounds easy right? ¬†It’s anything but easy.

If you are in a position of managing others, today’s post is directed at you. Although leadership skills can be learned, there is truth in the adage “great leaders are born.” Successful leaders must possess certain qualities in order to be effective. Some innately possess these skills but others must develop them, in order to become successful leaders. In my years of corporate experience, I have developed some very practical views of successful leadership. Keep in mind when it comes to defining leadership attributes, the list is endless. (Confidence and competence are assumed.) My list is more practical, perhaps less academic, but equally important in my view. For example, when I think of those characteristics and attributes that make a good leader, I think of someone who must first be capable of understanding the value of others. The person must have clarity of purpose, strong values on hiring the right staff. A good leader hires staff to compliment their own shortcomings. An empathetic and supportive style is also part of the package. A leader must also be willing to admit mistakes and be open to learning from others. Finally, it takes maturity, good listening skills and patience to be a good leader. The good news is all these attributes can be learned. Motivation is the key here to developing these skills.

Until next time…


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