Being an effective leader requires an individual to live as a leader. Merely putting on the leader hat during working hours does not suffice. This is because in order to be an effective leader, you have to constantly practice being the best version of yourselves, and every situation is an opportunity to do just that. Here are four skills that a leader must keep sharp in order to be effective.
Self-motivation and discipline.
Perhaps it is a bit cliche to start with this, but it is the truth. The one person who you will always have to listen to and answer to is yourself. If you can develop the ability to do what you set out to do consistently, you will have a solid base as a leader. If you cannot motivate yourself or follow through on actions, then you need a lot more practice before you lead others.
Big picture thinking (and planning)
As a leader, you must see the big picture. People rely on you to navigate them through the forest while they are in the thick of it. You must be able to go down into nitty-gritty detail if necessary, then pull yourself out and see the complete view. Building on this, you must be able to draw plans based on the big picture. Even if it needs refinement, you need to be able to give yourself and others a path to follow.
Along with the ability to see the big picture, give direction, and keep yourself going, you will need to be able to circumnavigate the many inevitable obstacles along the way. This is where problem-solving comes in. Problem-solving can range from elaborate methodologies to slap-stick solutions, what matters is that you know how to keep the engine of momentum going, applying the right solutions at the right times in such a way as to cause the lease internal disruption and the greatest output for your effort.
Communication is quite a broad term, but a leader really must be effective in all of its facets. Listening, writing, public speaking, giving feedback, negotiating, banter… All are necessary for a leader. The ability to sympathise, gain acceptance, motivate, and simply be liked are all a component of one’s competence at communication.
With these four skills in continuous practice, any leader can grow more effective and influential. The key is to be sincere in striving to be a good leader. If you genuinely care about your vision, team, and stakeholders, it will show in your conduct.