Students often ask this question: is leadership a skill? The answer is important. Because if the answer is affirmative, then everyone can become a good leader. Skills are learned abilities to get a job done. If leadership is a skill, then leadership can be learned.
If Leadership Is a Skill
Samuel refused to become a leader. He believes that he was not born a natural leader. He said that leading employees would be so challenging and he would certainly fail. Their company needs him to step up and become the leader.
If you are like Samuel, I like to offer a simple answer and 3 suggestions.
Is leadership a skill?
No, leadership is not a skill. I will explain.
Leadership is influence. A leader’s purpose is to sell to people a shared future that they really care about. He knows that to persuade people, he needs to build an emotional connection. He must demonstrate why the future is much better than today — and in doing so create an inspirational dissatisfaction. But he can’t do it alone. He has to build his team whom he empowers and enables. There is no perfect map towards the future, so he needs to embrace new mindsets and learn new skills.
To become a good leader, you need to learn many skills. Often, these skills are called leadership skills. However, if you were to examine those skills, you’ll realize that they can also fall into management skills, communication skills, delegation skills, decision-making skills, et cetera. Leaders need all those skills to become successful.
To be a good leader needs more than skills, motivation, and opportunities.
That’s the bad news. It means that you’ve got to do the work.
That’s also the good news. It means that no one is “gifted” or a genius in leadership. Great leaders were not born great leaders. Leadership skills, mindsets, and opportunities are acquired. Though not everyone has the motivation to become a leader, like Samuel, we can always transform ourselves from being a good follower to a good leader.
3 Tips to Get Started in Leadership
As promised, I will share with you three simple ways to become a good leader. These ideas are too simple, you might ignore them. Please don’t. Start seeing yourself as a leader today.
Know what you really want to achieve. Leadership is moving from A to B or C or D. You want something better than today. Be clear about what you really want.
If you can only think of your personal dream, that’s okay. Leadership begins with self. If you want to make a difference in the lives of other people, then I suggest you figure out how you can sell your ideas to these people. Your vision will become a shared vision. It will be more challenging and rewarding.
Examine where you are now. This is very important. You need to know your present situation or the situation of the people you want to lead. It is important that while you are looking at the heavens (your vision), you are very much aware of where you are standing.
Some gurus recommend that you do your personal SWOT. You can try that too.
My recommendation is to focus on what you have. Consider what strengths and opportunities you have today.
A common pitfall is to focus on what you don’t have. Many leaders do not move until everything is ideal. But our situations seldom become ideal. We cannot wait until life is not hard anymore before we choose to act. You already have talents, skills, and maybe resources you can use. Find out how you can get started with them to reach your goal.
Find out how you can move from where you are to where you want to go. You will need to evolve. That means you have to work on your leadership skills. Amplify what you already have and find complementary skills that will multiply your impact. Explore the strategies and techniques of those leaders you look up to. Don’t just pick the “famous” leadership gurus. Instead, find those leaders who are living the life that you desire.
I can tell you more tips. But you won’t need them now. Jumpstart yourself with these three tips.
So, I have fulfilled my promise. I answered the question, is leadership a skill?
It is not a skill because you need many skills to become a good leader. Leaders need to apply a combination of skills and dispositions. And this is good for us all. It means that we can learn how to become good leaders.
You can learn more.
I wrote a guide on leadership. It is where you can get started fast. Go to Leadership Rules. Read also Becoming a Leader.
You can also find influencing ideas on Motivational Speaker: 24 Easy Steps to Success.