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Validating leadership skills



A. access your leadership skills;
B. understand the importance of management competences.

Leadership roles are all around us, not just in a work environment.
They can be applied to any situation where you are required to take the lead, professionally, socially and at home in family settings. Ideally, leaders become leaders because they have credibility, and because people want to follow them.

Time needed to review this content: 30 MIN

Two questions which are often asked are:
• What exactly is a leader?

• How is being a leader different from being a manager?
Many people also wonder if leadership can really be taught. People with vested interests (academics and those offering leadership training or literature of some sort) are convinced that it can. Many successful leaders, however, have never had any formal training. For them leadership is a state of mind, and it is their personalities and traits that make them successful leaders.
One of the most important aspects of leadership is that not every leader is the same. Of course we have all heard jokes about ‘mushroom’ leadership (keep them in the dark and feed them on manure) and ‘seagulls’ (swoop in, squawk, and drop unpleasant things on people), but joking aside, there are many different styles of leadership.
Different leadership styles are appropriate for different people and different circumstances, and the best leaders learn to use them all.

You can of course learn about effective leadership skills and practices but being able to implement them yourself may require an altogether different set of skills and attitudes. The question “Can leadership be taught?” has no simple answer and we do not want to argue for one side or the other, but rather keep an open mind on the subject and provide information about the skills good leaders need.
Developing People Skills

Another area which is crucial for leaders is skills in leading people. After all, without followers, there are no leaders.
• Leaders need skills in working with others on a one-to-one and group basis, and a range of tools in their armoury to deal with a wide range of situations
• One of the first skills that new leaders need to master is how to delegate. This is a difficult skill for many people but, done well, delegation can give team members responsibility and a taste of leadership themselves, and help them to remain motivated.
• Leaders also need to know how to give others their views on personal performance in a way that will be constructive rather than destructive, and also hear others’ opinions of them.
• Leaders then need tools to help them understand the way that others behave, and create positive interactions.
• Finally, leaders have to be able to work well in group situationHowever, leaders spend much of their time in one particular group situation, meetings, so they need to have particular skill in chairing and managing meetings.

Effective Personal Qualities

There are a number of personal qualities which leaders tend to display. However, for all that this description implies that these qualities are intrinsic, they can be developed and improved over time. These qualities include charisma, that quality of ‘brightness’ which makes people want to follow a leader, assertiveness, which enables that person to make their point without aggression, but firmly, and empathy, understanding of how others feel. One way to understand leadership qualities is in terms of Emotional Intelligence, an umbrella term that describes how well we relate to others and to our own feelings.

Excellent Communication

• Leaders also need finely-honed communication skillsThese skills are general interpersonal skills, not specific to leadership, but successful leaders tend to show high levels of skill when communicating.
• Good leaders tend to be extremely good listeners, able to listen actively and elicit information by good questioning.
• They know how to build rapport quickly and effectively, to develop good, strong relationships with others, whether peers or subordinates.
• They are usually very good at public speaking, equally skilled at getting their point across in a formal presentation or Board meeting, or in an informal meeting or casual corridor conversation.
• They have strong negotiation skills, in the broadest sense, in terms of reaching win-win situations and making sure that they know their ‘bottom line’.
• They have also honed their ability to communicate in difficult situations, usually by practice over time.

Watch this video and find out how how to be a better leader! Write 3 conclusions that you obtained from the video.


1. Take a Leadership Personality Test
2. Keep a Journal
3. Find Your Passion
4. Beef Up Your Communication Skills
5. Become a Leader Outside of Work
6. Learn How to Build Solid Teams
7. Take an Online Leadership Building Courses


• Listen for the basic message - consider the content, feeling and meaning expressed by the speaker.
• Restate what you have been told in simple terms.
• When restating, look for non-verbal as well as verbal cues that confirm or deny the accuracy of your paraphrasing. (Note that some speakers may pretend you have got it right because they feel unable to assert themselves and disagree with you.)
• Always be non-directive and non-judgemental.


One of the first skills that new leaders need to master is how to delegate. This is a difficult skill for many people but, done well, delegation can give team members responsibility and a taste of leadership themselves, and help them to remain motivated.
• Are you able to delegate?
• Do you do it often, and how?


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