Developing Leadership Skills

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Developing Leadership Skills

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This article is designed to provide guidance for executives, managers,
and specialists, who are involved in leading the strategic direction of
their organisations. The articles will cover all the main areas of
expertise, knowledge, and understanding, that are need to successfully
lead an organisation in today’s complex and fast-changing world.

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Article Body:
The first area that we look at is that of Personal Attributes. This is a
blend of knowledge, expertise, and competencies, encapsulated in the
approach, the behaviour, of the leader. In organisations of all sizes and
in all sectors, public and private, these characteristics are key to
effective leadership. The essential personal attributes are as follows.

Behaving Ethically, by: learning about the ethical issues and concerns
that impact on your business sector; adopting a balanced, open-minded
approach to the ethical concerns of others; considering the ethical
issues and implications of all personal actions and organisational
activity; raising and discussing ethical issues before proposing or
agreeing to decisions; resisting pressures from the organisation or its
partners to achieve objectives by unethical means.

Thinking Strategically, by: learning and understanding how the different
functions, physical divisions, and layers, of the organisation should
work together: understanding the complexities of, and the changes
happening in, the external environment, and considering how the
organisation can best respond the these; understanding the strengths and
weaknesses of the organisation, and the opportunities and threats facing
it; understanding how the strategic objectives are influenced by all the
current and forecast influences that will impact on the organisation;
understanding that the operational objectives and targets must be in line
with and support the strategic objectives of the organisation; being
aware of and responding to the behaviour of current and potential

Supporting Corporate Goals, by: helping to create and communicate a
vision which can be understood and supported by people at all levels;
helping others to understand and contribute to the strategic goals;
giving visible personal support to the strategic direction and specific
goals set by the organisation.
Communicating Effectively, by: being responsive to messages and signals
from the internal and external environments; making effective use of
communication channels from and to all levels within the organisation;
pro-actively encourage the exchange of information within the
organisation, and amongst suppliers, customers and partners; listening to
others, including those with opposing views, carefully and thoughtfully;
selecting personal communication styles that are appropriate to the
different situations and audiences.

Gathering Information, by: establishing multiple channels and networks
which generate a constant flow of information, from within and outside
the organisation; regularly and consistently gathering, analysing,
challenging, and using the information gathered.

Making Decisions, by: establishing a consistent approach to the analysis
of information; drawing on personal experience and knowledge to identify
current and potential problems; consider a range of solutions before
selecting the final one; ensuring that the selected decision is feasible,
achievable, and affordable; considering the impact of the decision on all
stakeholders, at all levels, before approving implementation.

Developing Effective Teams, by: appreciating the contribution of others,
at all levels in the organisation; ensuring that individuals and teams
are kept informed of plans, developments and issues that will affect
them; ensuring that individual and team development schemes are given
appropriate priority; providing personal support for the implementation
and maintenance of development activities for individuals and teams at
all levels.

Behaving Assertively, by: understanding and responding to personal roles
and responsibilities; adopting a leading role in initiating action and
decision making; taking personal responsibility for decisions and
actions; being properly prepared for involvement in activities and
events; being confident and professional in dealing with change and
challenges; refusing unreasonable demands; defending and protecting
individuals and teams from unfair or discriminatory actions; remaining
professional in manner at all times.

Concentrating On Results, by: contributing to the establishment of an
organisational culture that demands high standards and high levels of
performance; focusing on objectives and planned outcomes, at all times;
dealing with issues and problems when they arise; planning and scheduling
personal work and the work of others in ways which make best use of
available resources; delegating appropriately; giving personal attention
to the critical issues and events.

Managing Yourself, by: reflecting regularly on personal performance and
progress; pro-actively asking for feedback on personal performance;
changing personal behaviour in the light of feedback received; being
responsible for your own personal development needs.

Presenting a Positive Image, by: adopting a leading role in initiating
action and decision making; behaving in a professional manner at all
times; being open-minded and responsive to the needs of others; visibly
working towards personal and career development goals; adopting an
ethical approach to all personal and organisational activity; being
supportive to colleagues; demonstrating fairness and integrity at all

In Summary: these essential attributes are many, and difficult to
maintain consistently, but they are the attributes needed by, and
expected of, our business leaders. The size of the organisation, the
business sector, whether public or private, is of no consequence. The
leaders of all organisations should be role models for others, be visible
champions of high standards of professional and ethical behaviour, be
leaders who others in their organisations can be proud of, and be leaders
that competitors are envious of. Not many of these characteristics are
imbued in our leaders by default. They have to be learned, can be
learned, and should then be continuously developed and enhanced. With
these personal attributes in place, and being demonstrated in behaviour
and actions, business leaders will be more effective and more successful.

Shared By:
Mike Ward Mike Ward Senior Project Manager
About Senior Project Manager working with a UK telco