Thomas Edison State University By Thomas Edison State University • October 16, 2014

What Leadership Skills Do You Need To Develop?

Founding Father John Quincy Adams once said, "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." 

Whether you are a management-level executive or an ambitious entry-level professional, there’s no doubt that your leadership skills will affect others. Both the good and the bad. Unfortunately, there’s no simple test to determine if you would make a good leader, and there is no reliable checklist of skills to tick off. If you’ve experienced a range of leadership styles from exceptional to downright horrible, how are you supposed to learn what makes an effective leader?

It’s important to understand that just because someone holds a leadership position it does not make them a leader. If you want to assess a leader, look to the people around them. Are they a great role model? Are they respected? Do they inspire their team? Is their team loyal?

To improve your own leadership ability, it helps to learn what makes a great (and poor) leader so you can be the most effective and inspirational leader you can be.

The Bad Leader

At first, bad leaders may be difficult to determine, but easy to recognize once things go south and the blame begins. They tend to micromanage with a lack vision, motivation and clear communications skills, which typically creates a stifled culture in the workplace. They do not accept accountability and have great difficulty delivering long-term results. A bad leader prefers to be at the center of everything and will ignore new perspectives and creative ideas. The status quo is good enough for them, and improvement is unnecessary. Ultimately, a bad leader will lead aimlessly, while the employees, and their work, suffer amidst the confusion.

The Good Leader

It may seem ironic but a good leader may not be the one in charge of a team. They may be punctual, accountable and reliable, and therefore lead by example.  They may praise team members for a job well done and treat them with respect in everyday interactions. Even in course discussion boards, a good leader will contribute quality dialogue, whether agreeing or disagreeing - politely, of course - which can open up the class to new perspectives and ideas.

This kind of leader builds trust, loyalty and confidence in their team because of a commitment and passion for what they do. Good leaders tend to mentor and coach their team and direct them toward change and innovation. They also hold themselves accountable. A good leader is a smart leader, and will instill confidence and motivation in their employees to always deliver strong results.

What leaders have inspired you?

Thomas Edison State University

Written by Thomas Edison State University

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