Everyone likes to think that when they reach a managerial position, they will know how to act and what to do. But the reality is that once you’re taking responsibility for an entire team or are in a leadership position with fellow employees reporting to you, you may not be as good a leader as you thought you would be.
Some of us may be born with natural leadership skills, but others may need a little help and guidance to teach them how to become a great leader.
In this two-part series, we will look at the three distinct obstacles preventing you from being an effective leader: your own self, your skill set and your communication capabilities.
What Does Good Leadership Look Like?
Many bosses may believe that they are good leaders. They may be effective project managers and know how to delegate tasks and get jobs done on time and within budget. But that doesn’t always translate to personnel leadership.
A good leader may not necessarily be in a management position. They may be the people who inspire others. They may spot and nurture potential or notice when a co-worker may be feeling under the weather or that their opinions are not being listened to.
If you are a good leader, you are someone who can motivate other people and make a tangible difference to your company. You can help people to feel that they are progressing in their careers, and you will have facilitated a positive working culture.
Could Your Own Sense of Self Stop You From Being a Great Leader?
Did you know that self-sabotage could directly impact you and prevent you from being a good leader? Many bosses have personal issues that could stop them from working effectively. This doesn’t mean that they are affected by their personal lives.
Instead, they could be driven by fear or lack the self-confidence to listen to other peoples’ ideas and opinions. They could also be impacted by stress or burnout, which stops them from working to the best of their ability. But it takes self-awareness and knowledge to identify when your motivational drivers have changed.
So first, you need to be able to recognize your strengths and weaknesses and learn new techniques that can help you to address your own personal shortcomings.
Let’s Take Fear as an Example
In business, fear isn’t always about being scared of something. It’s often about being risk-averse and failing to try new things or ways of working because “that isn’t how it’s been done in the past….”
As a good leader, you should be able to listen to ideas and suggestions from your co-workers. But when was the last time you listened to a recommendation, or, more importantly, acted on it? Have you been prepared to try new things or look at potential new areas that you can tap into?
So often, the leaders who succeed aren’t afraid of failure. Instead, those who can take a calculated risk may be far more likely to move forward and achieve greater success.
Are You Self-Confident and Aware of Your Own Personal Motivational Drivers?
To be a great leader means having a good understanding of your own personal motivations. You need to think carefully about what encourages you. What drives you every day? What are you working toward? This isn’t necessarily about your career development but knowing what gets you out of bed in the morning. For some people, they are hugely motivated by financial incentives. Others are more concerned about professional challenges and learning and trying new things.
Once you’re aware of what you are personally driven by, you can learn how to ensure you are always working to your strengths.
Your Skill Set Could Impact Your Leadership Ability
There are a variety of skills that make up a good leader. Some may be borne through natural ability; others are learned and honed while working on the job. It stands to reason that to be an effective leader, you need the technical skills and proficiencies to do the job.
Not only do you need to have these skills to be able to work and lead by example, but you also need to be able to identify what valuable skills your team has and, more importantly, any skills gaps that your team may need in the future.
Anticipating and predicting future trends is a core skill for successful leaders, especially if you are working towards being a market leader. But what other skills could be preventing you from being a great leader? Stay tuned for the second article in this series to find out.