Today we're discussing what makes a great leader, and we're going to share seven skills. All right, so grab a warm beverage and maybe some pen and paper and let's get into it.
All right. So the first skill is listening. Now, this is not something that should come as a surprise to you, because communication is a two way street. And if you're not listening, then you're not being as effective of a communicator as you can. So it's very important that as a leader, you listen. You listen to your teammates. You listen to the stakeholders.
You listen to yourself. You listen to the other managers as well. And listening is going to be essential, especially if you want to delegate. And delegation is an essential part of managing teams, managing projects, managing programs, managing people. If you don't listen, then you're going to miss a lot of what's being shared. And a lot of the time people that are talking about themselves and they're talking about their goals and their objectives, they're going to mention things that you're going to start picking up on.
And so if you are listening, well, then you're going to know what things people like, what aspects of their job they love, what challenges they love to overcome, what are they really good at? You will become aware of their strengths and weaknesses as well, which will allow you to be a better delegator. And so listening is crucial. The next thing is being observant.
This plays into IQ. If you are being perceptive and attuned to people around you, you're going to be able to show greater empathy because you're going to sense when someone feels stressed or if they're having a rough day or if they're really excited and happy, you're going to be able to notice that and then act on it. And so this is really important, especially when it comes to empathy, because as a leader, as a manager, you want to lead with empathy.
You want to be able to know how to build trust and how to communicate with people. And part of that is through empathy, right? If you are not being receptive to someone's different emotional states, then you might not necessarily be leading with empathy. And that's a major pitfall if you're not doing that, because, again, if you are avoiding empathy, then you're not really leading as best you can.
So it's really important to be attuned to the different emotional states, to different things that might be going on. To have your antenna up and be able to be observant will really serve you well because you're going to start noticing things that you might not have if you were just head down, blinders on, and not being aware. Part of what makes a good manager is understanding the different emotions in a room, right?
If you are leading a meeting, for example, you can sense what's going on. Just by observing, just by noticing body language, listening to the tone of voice. Right. And that ties into the listening as well, as you can see. But really being observant. And so with this, it's about the way someone says something, the way that they're presenting themselves, their actions, their nonverbals, their body language, how they show up to work.
Right. And so all of the little details that are part of our communication, and if we're not listening or if we're not observing, then we can really very easily miss it. So it's very important to be attuned to that and to be observant. The next one is having an agile mindset. Flexibility is of the utmost importance. You really do need to be flexible because things change.
You might be in charge of one thing and then things get moved around and now you're in charge of more than one thing or maybe timelines shift around, maybe scope creep happens, and suddenly you are trying to figure out how to get that scope back to where it needs to be or reframe or whatever else might be there to challenge you.
You need to be able to adapt. So adaptability, flexibility, these are important because again, things change. The only thing that's certain is change. So if we can't roll with the punches, then we have to start being able to adapt. We need to learn how to do that. And so having this flexible mindset, being agile, being prepared to say, okay, I'm ready to take on whatever challenge I need to get the job done, or I am happy to retrace and to backtrack and start again or get back to the drawing board or say, You know what?
I don't have an answer for that right now, but I'm going to find out. Or seeking out subject matter experts, right? Not always having the answers, but being prepared to find them come what may so flexibility is key. You're going to be going through a lot of changes. Things go through a lot of changes, processes change, people change.
So we really have to be attuned to adaptability and be ready to face it head on. Next, we have creative thinking, so this really comes into play with problem solving. If you are a creative and an abstract thinker, you are going to be able to problem solve in ways that people hadn't even thought of. And so it's really about trying to come up with solutions, even if that means speaking them aloud, talking them through with people.
In fact, that's encouraged because collaboration is so important when we are leading, right? Collaboration is key. That's what enables us to make an impact, to drive impact at scale, to celebrate the wins, to be a collective unit and really do the job that much better. We do that with others. We are able to do that together, right? There is no “I” in “team.”
We have to be aware of that. Right. So collaboration is part of that. But the critical thinking here, the creative thinking is important insofar as you can find new ways of coming up with solutions to problems that might arise and thinking about what was done in the past, how things are different now, and how to attack that issue now.
Getting into the state of mind where let's call on this person and that person to help us with this, because that person's an expert in this. That person is really good at that and knowing who to call on and thinking about things with a holistic approach. And that brings me to the next skill which is communicating, but not just any type of communicating.
It's about communicating with transparency and authenticity. So as a leader, you have your own authentic style. You have the types of communication styles that you like to use in different settings. You have the types of communication styles that really have that gravitas. When you want to command a room, when you want to collaborate, when you want to be vulnerable, when you want to motivate people.
And so everyone has a different way of doing that. But the point here is to be you. And so if you're not sure what your style is, try out a few of the different ones that I've shared in previous lessons and try to see what feels good and use the feedback from your team, see what happens, right? It's not just about using it and maybe it feels good, but if it's not getting results, if it's not being conveyed well, and if people aren't understanding your message, in other words, if your message is not being transmitted, then you might have to move things around and change up a style or two and maybe use a more hybrid approach if that's more you and find your authentic way of communicating. And the second part of this is transparency. You want to make sure that everyone is on the same page. You want a level set and make sure the expectations are clear at the get go. And if they're not clear, then you are constantly communicating updates and changes as they surface.
And so transparent communication and open communication are extremely crucial if you want to be an effective leader because it makes sure that everyone knows what is happening. Roles are messy, they're mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive. Everyone knows what they're doing and the way to do that. One of the ways to do that is, yes, through delegation, which is important.
And we touched upon it earlier, but also making sure that you're transparent about what roles need to be filled, who needs to do what, what needs to be done, what you're doing, where you are in the project, what the feedback is from stakeholders, what part of the iteration process you are on, what needs to happen in the next sprint and so on and so forth.
So really a lot to think about with communication, but think of it as the two I mentioned: authenticity and transparency and with that you're going to start seeing your communication become even more effective as a leader. Next, we have rapport building. Rapport building is essential for creating that bond with people, for creating that trust. And that is very important with teams and with leaders and with managers and with being able to lead a team.
Because if there is no rapport, then there's no trust. And then the team is not going to be strong and they're going to be issues. So we really want to be able to build rapport. So that means building the relationships, it means building the team. That means showing people that you appreciate them and you care about them and that you're going to fight for them and that you're going to stick your neck out for them.
Right? Because that's what a leader does. You take accountability and you take ownership. And it's not any one person's fault. If there is a snafu or a hiccup in the system, you take ownership, you take accountability for something like that, and you work on it together as a team. So if you know, if there's a situation where people are not motivated, well, it's on you to help create that shared vision with them and help get them excited about something.
Right. Because nobody really wants to be working on something they are not, they're not interested in or they don't like or they're not motivated about. So helping them understand what that is and trying to find a good fit and having them get more motivated is a great way of showing them that you are building rapport because you're taking interest in them.
You're concerned about what they're interested in appreciating them for all they are and all that they do. And you are showing them that you are coming from a place of trust. And lastly, is decisiveness. Being able to make decisions quickly within time constraints and with the information that you have at the moment is really important. It is easy for people to just deliberate and deliberate and not ever come to a decision.
But good leaders and good managers are those that are able to use the information they have at hand at that very moment. Take in consideration all the other aspects of what the project is, the scope, everything that they need right, the timeline, the budget, the stakeholders, and then ultimately the shared vision, right? What the risks are even and coming to a decision with the information they have at hand and in a timely fashion.
It's a lot easier said than done, but of course, you know, you get help along the way because you've created a nice team that will also, you know, benefit you as well, because you're all in it together, you're in it to win it. And with this collaborative mindset, you can come to decisions much more easily as well.
But it's on you as a leader to be able to say, okay, given the information I have here, looking at it holistically, considering all that I need to do with whatever I have in front of me, the information that I have, and then making that decision and not taking too long with it, because that's what decisiveness is all about.
All right. So I hope that you enjoyed this lesson on seven different ways of being an effective leader. We're all leaders in some ways. So I want you to consider that when you are in your next conversation or in your next meeting or in your team and you're on a project and you're doing, you know, all the things you need to be doing.
Think about how you yourself are a leader in your own way. All right. And I hope that you practice these strategies and make them your own and definitely try them out because it's only with trying them out and practicing them that we can get even better and they start becoming second nature. So then we don't even have to think about them, we just do them already.
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