What are leadership skills?

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Do you remember the days when you or your friend was contesting for a position in the student council? The days and weeks are filled with nominations, elections rallies, students holding banners and promoting their leader through the corridors. Right? The nominated students are unique in certain ways.

They are bold, good at making their point clear, they participate in a lot of extra curricular activities, they are extroverted people, they are active, enthusiastic students. They may not be academically strong, but are smart and bold in resolving issues. Have you noticed the qualities?

If you are selected, it is definitely due to one or more of these qualities in you.

As a student council leader, you lead your peers not just through your position but through your personality, what you practice and what you preach. It’s that simple.

A leader is someone who can inspire and influence the crowd in the right manner. Someone people can look upto.

“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” – Jack Welch

Leadership skills are the skills required to be a good leader. Win or lose depends upon the leader who led the team and it depends on his/her leadership skills which bring the effectiveness of teamwork.

What is leadership?

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Leadership is the art of leading a group of people or an organization. Leaders create a tribe of followers with their vision, charisma, honesty, integrity, influence, dedication, commitment. A leader is responsible for guiding a group of people and developing and implementing a timeline for the team to reach their goal.

Leadership is a special quality that can’t be found in every person. Fortunately, leadership skills can be learned and imbibed into. Leadership characteristics are those that are never inherited but learned and imbibed into. Being a good leader is not easy. While a leader’s actions may be scrutinized when things are going bad, it is their leadership qualities that gleam through the worst of times.

“Leadership is the ability to persuade others to seek defined objectives enthusiastically. It is the human factor which binds a group together and motivates it towards goals.” – Keith Davis

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In addition to the qualities of the leader mentioned above, some characteristics of a leader are,

  • Visionary: A visionary is someone who does not just focus on short term goals but plans and acts for long term benefits. This is a peculiar characteristic of a leader.
  • Assertive: A leader should be assertive. This means that he or she should be able to carry themselves with utmost confidence and poise. Somebody who is self-confident and assertive in nature inevitably makes a good leader.
  • Influential: If you look up to someone, that’s because they have the power to influence you. A leader is no different. A leader is someone who can influence you to make positive decisions in your life. With the help of this influence, you start gaining a better personality and start making profitable decisions in life as well.
  • Open-minded: A leader is an open-minded being. A leader is someone who won’t be scared of experimenting. On the other hand, they will accept you for what you are and try to bring out the best in you without really making any baseless assumptions based on your current pattern and style of living.
  • Dedication: This goes without saying. If you are to be a good leader, you ought to be dedicated in life. A leader is someone who is so passionate about achieving their goals in life. No matter what, they are ready to work through anything that might come in their way as an obstacle. They never deter from their goal as they see it as a rock solid objective that they need to accomplish. That’s dedication. That’s hard work.
  • Courage: Courage is a key skill for good leadership. To become an effective leader, you must be intrepid and ensure that others follow your commands. Few people are born fearless and others eventually become one. It doesn’t matter which one of them you are because the only matter to be concerned about is being confident makes you a good leader.
  • Humility: Great leaders admit when they are wrong and take criticism as an opportunity for growth. Humility allows you to acknowledge your mistakes. It takes a good heart to accept condemnation without blaming others.
  • Self-discipline: Good leadership is in developing discipline in others. Good leaders are self–disciplined and have good time management skills. There is nothing more inspirational than seeing someone who is adaptive to themselves and persistent.

“Great leaders always have self–discipline – without exception”. – John C. Max

When a leader is self – disciplined then he/she sets an example, they motivate others to follow the lead and this makes them a great leader.

  • Reflective/Decisive: A good leader reflects on his thoughts, actions, beliefs, mistakes and tries to correct or amend them. A good leader develops a clear thinking process by eliminating useless thoughts and adopts meaningful actions to make correct decisions.
  • Empathy: Empathy is in understanding others needs and what goes into their mind. Leadership is all about empathy, it is the ability to connect with people. Understanding the problems of others and feeling their pain is the first step to becoming an effective leader.

Let’s learn how to be a leader from the King of the Jungle – The Lion!

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We are pretty sure when you came to know about animals, the first thing that you might have learned is that the “LION” is the king of the jungle. Why? because a lion leads. Let’s consider popular movies like The Jungle Book, The Lion King and any other such movies that come to your mind. How was the lion portrayed? A leader? Royal and majestic? Someone who protects its family? That’s a big tick mark to all of those suggestions above.

If we examine the behaviours of these animals, we can learn alot about leadership and other traits of life.

Now, let’s look at the lion. When you look at a lion, how do you feel? What are the first few words that pop into your head? We’ll go first;

  • Royal
  • King
  • Strength
  • Brave
  • Protective
  • Hunter

Additionally, lions are social animals that live in groups of 10 to 15. These groups consist of lionesses, whose role is to hunt, cubs, and lions who are there to protect the pride. They say that people with a lion attitude are pillars of leadership.

The lion is not afraid of doing what he wants. The lion is not afraid of going his own direction while the others go a different direction; the lion is courageous enough to defend and fight for his life. He lives his life the way he wants to.

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So, here is a simple question for you.

  • Do you want to be like a lion?
  • Do you want to weave your own path and achieve your goals?
  • Don’t you want to fight for what you deserve?

Well, if your answer is a YES to all the above questions, congratulations, you have a lion attitude. No one wants to remain a sheep like the majority of people are. People who are afraid of standing out; people who are afraid of going after the life of their dreams. People who give up on their goals the moment they meet obstacles. You are not like those people and you shouldn’t be.

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You might have one question. Sheeps are cute. What if I wish to be like sheeps? Well, we agree sheeps are cute. But, is that all you should consider? Sheeps follow the leader. They follow the herd because they do not know where they are going. Sadly, many times they are led into the slaughterhouse but still keep following because they do not use their minds.

However, we can vouch for lions and say that they master their own destiny and lead their own paths. People with a lion attitude are courageous. They are courageous to stand for what they believe. They are brave to go a different direction when everyone else is going another way. They are willing to face their adversaries and challenges even if they are scared. They do not run away.

Having the lion attitude begins with changing how you think about yourself. It develops when you think positively about yourself. It strengthens when you stop believing what others tell you about you.

So, what do we as humans learn from lions in terms of leadership?

  • Be brave
  • Make your own destiny in life
  • Lead, don’t follow.
  • Take risks
  • Be courageous and go after your dreams
  • Never let small obstacles defeat you
  • Work hard and never give up
  • Always be there for people but don’t tolerate the wrong
  • Always keep your mind clear and think for yourself

Now that we have covered everything in detail, here is another question. Do you wish to be a lion or a sheep?


Hey! I’m an Elephant and I am here to teach you something different: Contingency Theory!

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Hi, I am an elephant and my name is Morty. Today, I wish to tell you a story about me, my owner Jambura and four blind villagers. A story that will teach you one of the greatest and most important aspects of leadership – contingency theory.

One day, four blind villagers came to see me. They were blind and hence they had never come across an elephant before. They seemed happy to see me. So, they came towards me and started touching me so that they could understand how I look.

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One man touched my trunk, one stood near my leg, another one near the stomach and the other one touched my tail. They all began to touch and sense what kind of animal the elephant is – that’s me.

After taking their time to sense my shape and size from their respective positions, they thanked my owner – Jambura, right after which they left the place and began to talk to each other and describe how I looked to each one of them.

  • The first man who touched my trunk – Elephant is such a great animal, it seems exactly like a thick and flexible rod.
  • The second man who touched my leg– Oh really, I do not think so. It’s more like a giant pillar and it does not move.
  • The third man who touched my stomach – Come on! I don’t know what you touched, but the elephant is like a giant wall.
  • The fourth man who touched my tail – No no, you all are wrong. The elephant is like a rope, very thin and very hairy.

All four men kept arguing and fighting with each other till they reached home. They ended up being upset with each other and did not talk to each other for a long time.

Now, I have a question for you, were any of these men wrong in their descriptions? No, they were not. They were right from their point of view. Moving on with our story, now enters my kind and wise owner – Jambura. He was watching all of this quarrel from a distance and decided to interrupt.

He went up to them and asked them what happened. One of the blind men explained the entire situation to him.

Jambura brought them back and made them sit near me. He then took some clay and built a small model that resembled the real elephant – me.

He sat with the four blind men and explained how I looked. He then handed over the clay model to each of the four blind men and explained how the real elephant looks, especially starting from the point of view they had. He then took each of the four blind men back to the real elephant and asked them to imagine the elephant again. This time, even though they started from a different position than they started again, they were able to really imagine the elephant better.

So, what did we learn from this situation?

  • All four men were right from their point of view. However, in this particular situation, this approach was not suitable. Sometimes, a different way is required to solve the same problem.
  • Each situation needs a different approach to it. A creative and timely solution always helps in solving problems, removes misunderstandings between peers and understand a situation from a more wholesome view. This is contingency theory.

The contingency theory of leadership supposes that a leader’s effectiveness is contingent on whether or not their leadership style suits a particular situation. According to this theory, an individual can be an effective leader in one circumstance and an ineffective leader in another one.

To maximize your likelihood of being a productive leader, this theory explains that you should be able to examine each situation and decide if your leadership style is going to be effective or not. In most cases, this requires you to be self-aware, objective and adaptable.

In this situation, Jambura helped by being a contingent leader. He understood that the particular situation needed a different approach and hence he adopted an approach that made the four blind villagers understand the actual situation. In fact, they also learnt how an elephant actually looks and could imagine the elephant better.

So, now you know one should understand that every situation is different and every situation needs a fresh approach to solve its problems.

What are the 5 leadership Skills?

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1.Communication: All great leaders need to be good communicators because they need the ability to explain their ideas, describe their vision to the members of their team.

Have you ever seen how birds communicate with each other and come to know way before humans if there is going to be any climate change? That’s the art of communication. A good leader masters the art of communication as always let’s their followers know about any possible danger or threat that might pose as an obstacle in their paths.

2.Confidence: It takes a lot of courage to lead a team and support them during their hard times. A leader is responsible for taking the risks that others are not willing to take. They should be confident enough to make a decision. A leader must also have the courage to rectify the mistakes made by the team members without blaming them.

Just like we discussed in the section above, one should be like a lion. Confident and ready to make decisions for their higher good. You shouldn’t be like a sheep who is dependent on someone and doesn’t use their own head to think and make life decisions.

3.Creativity: When we think of the word ‘creativity’ we generally think of art, writing, craft or something in those fields. But creativity is something beyond a subject. It is finding new solutions to the most challenging problems or as simple as solving a simple, small problem. Even in your homework for any subject, you must have solved a math problem in 2-3 steps instead of 10 steps. This is creativity. A leader should be able to come up with solutions to the continuous slew of problems.

Chimpanzees are humanity’s closest living relatives, and apparently learned how to make and use tools long ago without human help. hammers were found at a chimp settlement in the Ivory Coast dating back 4,300 years. They are even capable of making spears to hunt other primates for meat, and are known to have developed specialized tool kits for foraging army ants.

4.Motivation: Words have the power to inspire and motivate others. Leaders need to motivate their team members to encourage productivity, passion and perform the tasks better. Motivation brings clarity to the team members why they want to follow your lead.

This generation of kids are relying more on external motivation. For example, if you get higher marks or an appreciation from your parents or teachers or you get an expensive gift for earning good marks, only then you are motivated to study. Right?

While that is one form of motivation, having internal motivation is important. You should aspire for higher goals. For example, you should remind yourselves that you are going to school to build knowledge so you can get a good job or create employment by starting your own company. That will help you identify the purpose and passion for your life.

5.Positivity: For any situation, there are two ways to look at it. Suppose you are trying hard to submit your homework on time, but suddenly you need to help your younger sister on her Math subject. This delayed your submission of homework. You can be upset and unhappy about it or you can think positively by telling yourself that you did not waste your time, rather you have helped your sister. The positive feeling will lift your spirits higher and motivate you to do better.

Just like that a leader will motivate his team and uplift them from going downhill for their mistakes. The leader instead brings their enthusiasm up and helps them identify new solutions to the problems.

How to build leadership skills?

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There are many ways to define the art of leading. If you lack these leadership skills then here are some ways to improve your leadership skills.

  • Step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to improve. Remember, the more work you do, the more you are learning.
  • Be proactive. Don’t wait for things to happen instead, anticipate them, and help the team be ready in case something goes wrong.
  • One of the most important communication skills for a leader is listening. If you want to become a good leader try improving your listening and speaking skills.
  • Maintain good body language and gestures.
  • Think out of the box and improve your creative thinking skills.
  • Confidence is one of the vital skills which makes a person a great leader. You can build confidence by taking part in events. Come out of your comfort zone and try new things every single day.
  • “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other,” said John F. Kennedy.
  • Constant learning improves knowledge.
  • Study other leaders and their qualities, mannerisms, and the way they communicate.
  • If you want to achieve your goal and execute it efficiently then you need discipline.

“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality”. – Warren Bennis

You are the future of tomorrow. You are the pillar of strength of the society. As you grow up and pass on to the next class, becoming a leader is what will help you achieve greater success in your life. Not just for you but people around you. You have the power to influence your peers and help them make positive decisions in their lives. By building leadership skills, you become someone people look upto.

The journey from class 6 to getting your first paycheck in hand is all dependent on how well you can lead yourself. How do you face obstacles and turn every challenge into an opportunity? That’s what a leader does. That’s what we wish for you. So, always think like a lion and make your destiny. Because, if you don’t, somebody else will. And, we are not sheeps, right?

Citations :

Skillioma Home (March 1, 2024) What are leadership skills?. Retrieved from https://repo.skillioma.com/what-are-leadership-skills/.
"What are leadership skills?." Skillioma Home - March 1, 2024, https://repo.skillioma.com/what-are-leadership-skills/
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Skillioma Home July 27, 2023 What are leadership skills?., viewed March 1, 2024,<https://repo.skillioma.com/what-are-leadership-skills/>
Skillioma Home - What are leadership skills?. [Internet]. [Accessed March 1, 2024]. Available from: https://repo.skillioma.com/what-are-leadership-skills/
"What are leadership skills?." Skillioma Home [Online]. Available: https://repo.skillioma.com/what-are-leadership-skills/. [Accessed: March 1, 2024]

Power Words :

  • Pinnacle
  • Condemnation
  • Assertive
  • Efficacious
  • Gleams
  • Milieu
  • Intrepid
  • Obstacle

 

Critical thinking challenge question :

Person X is more intelligent than person Y. person X is very creative and person Y is hardworking. person X is arrogant and person Y is humble. person X is a good speaker and person Y is a good listener. Who do you think can become a better leader?

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