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How to develop your leadership skills

Feb 19, 2016

How to develop your leadership skills

Leadership as a skill

Years ago people thought that leadership was an innate ability in others, such as having dark hair or blue eyes. Fortunately, some time ago this myth was broken when psychologists and neuroscientists began to talk about different types of intelligence.

We should stop to consider this ability as an innate ability of the individual and treat it as a matter that can be studied and developed. We must stop considering that only technical skills can be learned and understood that our social skills 

If we understand that leadership is the ability to efficiently combine different skills such as team management, project management and emotional intelligence, in order to help a group of people to achieve an objective, we will understand also that leadership is actually i the right combination technical skills and social skills, applied at the right time and in the right measure.

Of course, there are specific techniques and best practices that we must learn to become good leaders.

Learning to lead 

From this point of view, we might consider that leadership as a skill has three different parts: 

On one hand is there the ability to inspire and motivate people. This is achieved through emotional intelligence training, improving your communication skills, making grow a well-defined culture in your team members and enhancing our ability to establish relationships with other people.

On the other hand, there is the ability to keep the team together and get the most out of each of its members. This is achieved by mastering the techniques for an appropriate management, knowing the psychological springs and being prepared to conduct and resolve  any unforeseen situation such as the resolution of a single conflict or periods of great stress.

Finally, there is the ability to make your team work coordinated to achieve their objectives. For this it is necessary to know different techniques of project management, planning and, in most cases, financial literacy.

Anyway, if this is all you need to manage teams, does this mean that learning these specific points we will become a effective leaders? 

Learning as a skill needs to be trained 

Unfortunately, you will not find the answer to learn soft skills like leadership only in the books. Of course it is important to read the right books or take classes, but if do not go further we stay on the surface.

To develop a skill is not enough to know it theoretically. An ability must be trained to be acquired and perfected. In the case of management skills is essential some practice to learn them effectively.

Fortunately, there are several ways to practice these skills.

  • We can establish traineeships or training plans within a company.
  • We can also practice role plays in which we assume a role until we are ready for it in real life.
  • We may use leadership simulators where we can practice in a virtual environment avoiding the risks of the practice in the real world.

In any case, if you think that leadership is something that you will learn by reading blogs or trying to imitate the biographies of great personalities, there are many chances that your leadership training will stay superficial and incomplete. If you want to develop your leadership skills you have to read, learn and practice.

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