Michael ‘Hank’ Wilson – Over the course of my career, there have been multiple occasions when I have wondered what type of leader an individual was. I have often thought that of myself, asking what type of leader am I? Some leaders stubbornly refuse to modernize their methods because, “we always used to do it this way”, “It’s my way or the highway”, or “if it’s not broken don’t fix it”. Often, I encounter leaders who refuse to involve their workers in decisions. Then there are those who try to be a buddy to all their employees. Some have no clear idea of how to move forward. Probably the worse type of leader I see are the ones who have no respect for their employees.
To really have a successful business or for that matter any type of operation, the type of leader needed is one who is self-aware. When I evaluate or begin to do a needs assessment, the first area I look at is what type of leader is in place. Does that leader have the skills necessary to succeed? Will that leader be willing to change if they lack certain skills?
What kind of skills are needed?
There are certain skills that many leaders seem to share. A good leader should be able to innovate, that is come up with solutions. Not always rely on what they did in the past. They need to be able to make decisions logically and critically. They should be able to persuade their employees and members of their team that the proposed solution will work.
An efficient leader understands how to delegate. In my case, even though I am a computer programmer there are certain tasks that others can do, I must trust in their skills. I try to be the type of leader who wants to involve everyone and keep everyone on task and on schedule. To do so, that means I must be able to communicate.
Communication is key
Communication is not simply telling others what to do. I believe that communication is a two-way street; I must be able to listen as well as talk. A good communicator considers the cultural differences among the audience. In the modern work world, the person leading must be able to work with multi-generational cohorts. The best communicators can adapt their message and also the medium with which they deliver it.
Finally, a leader must be able to show empathy to the team members. This does not mean that a person must be a person who is taken advantage of. It does mean that the person must be the type of leader that both gives and receives respect. If you want to truly understand how those you work with, bring in an outside consultant to run an assessment. You might be surprised by the results when you discover what type of leader your people think you are.
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