Great leaders are born and not made. While this may be true, there is nothing to suggest that no one can acquire leadership skills. Though not easy, it is not impossible also. But yes, leadership is not so easy to practice. There are no schools and colleges that can make you a good leader but there are certain ideas and practices that can put you on the right track.
Leadership is all about behavior and soft skills. Good leaders are people who are trusted and respected by their staff and followers not because of their college degrees and qualifications, but due to their behavior and ability to inspire others. While Management relies more on planning, organizational and communications skills, Leadership is different. It relies more on personal skills and attitudes. A good leader is known for his/her qualities such as integrity, honesty, humility, courage, commitment, sincerity, passion, confidence, wisdom, determination, positive attitude, compassion and sensitivity.
Every good leader has his own style of working and it is not necessary that what works for one will work for other also. The situation and condition should decide how and what leadership style should be followed.
Renesis Likert explained four broad styles of management as
Exploitative – Authoritative,
Benevolent -- Authoritative,
In the exploitative style, the manager or the leader takes decision and the subordinates have to follow his instructions. He does not allow any room for suggestions or discussion and the motivation is characterized by threats.
In the Benevolent style, although the leader is again the supreme authority, the motivation is characterized by rewards. There is no team work and lower level employees do not feel any responsibility.
In the third one that is the Conservative style, leader shows some trust and delegates some responsibility towards lower levels. There is limited amount of involvement.
But the last type – Participative is by far the best as in this style as the name suggests there is equal participation by employees and the manager and the leadership role is reduced to that of a mentor. There is complete confidence on subordinates and motivation is through economic rewards based on goals which have been set by equal participation of both parties.
How to be a good leader: To be a good leader, cultivate a style that suits you and your personality best.
1. The first thing is to develop a reliable and attractive mission statement that people will understand, respect and believe (that is not impossible to achieve). Communicate your ideas and vision clearly and show people how they are going to affect them.
2. Believe in yourself and others will also believe you. But if you are unsure yourself, you cannot hope to inspire confidence in others. And needless to say, that your leadership has to be backed by exemplary track record and reputation such that teams members and peers respect and value.
3. A good decision making ability under intense pressures is a must and for this make sure you have all the facts and figures before taking decisions. Do not be impulsive or take decisions emotionally.
4. Team building is another area where leaders excel. They have an eye for good workers and never fail to appreciate good work. A leader always set his sight on target and does not allow temporary setbacks to distract him from achieving his goals. Work confidently towards your goals. Persevere and keep encouraging and motivating your team. Lead by example and people will follow you.
5. And the most important thing is to never ridicule or show arrogance to your subordinates. No one likes to be bossed around. Respect your people even if he is a clerk or a peon in the office. People always support leaders who support them and so make sure to be there in the times of crisis and see how you develop into a great leader.