TRUE OR FALSE ?
Many people believe that leaders are born and not made because they think that talent cannot be learned.
Unlike the inherent musical aptitude of Mozart, for example, who was playing minuets at the age of five, leadership can be learned because skill alone does not make a leader, behavior does.
People follow leaders because they trust and respect them, not simply because of their expertise.
Leaders do not demand brilliance, they help craft brilliance; they guide, not rule.
In order to bring the best out of her team, a leader should demonstrate the very characteristics she wants in her team. In other words, lead by example.
So what characteristics makes an effective and respected leader? She should be:
• humble (she may know it all, but she’s not a know-it-all)
• verbally persuasive
Developing Leadership Skills
If you don’t yet possess all these qualities, rest assured that as you earn the trust and respect from those in your team, you will feel more confident, courageous, decisive, etc. This symbiotic relationship allows those you are leading to feel part of a team, rather than mere worker bees who must be seen and not heard.
In 2008 the British government proposed an initiative where young people would swear an oath of allegiance to ‘Queen and Country’ to increase national loyalty. The initiative was dropped because you can’t force people into loyalty; you must earn it. This proposal said more about the weak leadership of the country rather than the lack of loyalty from its citizens. Good leadership is often more about serving than leading.
A leader makes things happen by:
• Having a goal and a plan (as motivational speaker Harvey Mackay once said, “A dream is just a dream, but a goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline.”)
• Putting together a good team
• Inspiring and encouraging each team member to give their absolute best
As a leader you must possess a good measure of self-awareness so that you are aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and can therefore build a symbiotic team that is mutually beneficial.
Importance of Fun Learning
As we all know from experience, the things we tend to remember are the things that interest us. People learn better through experiential learning and games. The best way to build leadership skills is to make it both fun and instructive, and the best way to do that is by playing leadership games. From simple ones where the task is less important than the experience, to more specific ones where the task is the experience, the most important thing is to make sure the challenge is enjoyable.
An example of a simple leadership game is The Survival Game, which is common in leadership training seminars. Each team is given a survival scenario (like plane crash or shipwreck) and must come up with ten items necessary for survival. In a leadership game like this, the leader exercises her skill in ensuring a group consensus.
Interested in learning more? Find about 10 Best Leadership Games.
More complex games might include Clinton Swaine’s Play To Win, a three-day seminar that teaches people to solve real-world problems with real-world tools within a game format. The skills you learn here will translate to your real-world business. Swaine’s leadership game is based on Plato’s reflection that “you can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation”.
Jack Canfield, another popular motivational speaker and author, describes his Come As You Will Be game, in which you throw a party where all the guests dress, talk and act as the person they want to be in five years’ time. This game saturates your subconscious with images and, more importantly, feelings of your success by strengthening positive neural pathways to your brain. What’s real in your mind is real in your life.
To read more about Leadership Games, click here.
So if you see yourself as a leader, start by learning leadership behavior through self-awareness, observing successful leaders, and participating in leadership games to develop your skills.
what’s on your mind?
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