JULY 6, 2020
Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.-John Maxwell
When we think of leaders, the picture that comes to our mind is of influential people who can govern a certain set of other people to do different things and believe in a specific set of beliefs, which the latter set of people will willingly follow and leadership is the skill that leaders have. But, is leadership just the skill or is there more to it? Let’s find out.
Leadership is not just the skill that every leader has, it is the use of effective communication, persuasion and exhibition that makes someone a leader. A person does not become a leader if he believes and thinks so; he becomes a leader when other people believe that he is one. This means that a person cannot define himself as a leader, but the people who consider him as their leader can. Leadership skills are the tools you possess to make yourself a leader. These tools are not the ones which when used once to join certain things will produce the results; these tools are the ones which continue to dig and dig and dig until the gold shines brightly in the sunlight, and then dig again and again to keep the results consistent. Let’s review the three tools in detail:-
- Effective communication:- To become a leader, you need to communicate effectively with the people you will lead. Communication has to be inclusive and discussive, not exclusive and one-sided. Don’t just speak and tell people what they should do and how they should do it. Don’t just give plain advice without considering the state and being of the people you are with. Giving advice and helping them matters, but understanding them matters even more. A good leader is not the one who is always ready to speak and give advice, a good leader is the one who is always ready to listen to other people attentively and then help them out. Listening matters more than speaking when you are communicating. The more you will listen to people, the more inclusive and connected they will feel. Let me explain the logic behind this; your words account for 7% of your communication, your tonality accounts for 38% and your body language makes up 55% of your communication. Non-verbal communication accounts for 93% of your total communication. That is what marks the difference between compliments and mockery. So, when you are listening to someone and replying in “Hmmm.” and “You are right.”, you may think that the other person knows you are listening, but if you are looking here and there while replying and you are constantly putting your hands in your pockets or checking your phone, you body language will communicate that you are not interested in listening to the other person, who will realise it without you saying a word. That is why we are comfortable to talk to some people in our family and not to others – the body language says it all and we understand it unconsciously. So, to become a leader, always be genuinely attentive to listen to other people’s suggestions and problems and promptly respond to them, encourage them and always have a smile on your face, and you will leave a profound impact on them.
- Effective persuasion:- If you cannot persuade people, then you cannot lead people. Persuasion matters significantly in leadership. If you can effectively persuade, then you can effectively lead. To persuade people, you need to effectively communicate. You need to do everything mentioned previously in the ‘Effective communication’ section. Along with that, there are certain things you need to do to effectively persuade people. First and foremost, you should learn about these people you will lead. The moment you keenly listen to them and relate to them, a string of connection joins you and them. Knowing them will also give you access to the way you should be with them because with people some things work and some don’t. Most of the time, try your best to be inclusive by enthusiastically speaking and using the word “We” instead of “You” and “I”. When you are helping someone out or giving them a solution according to their problem, using the word “You” will be better than “We’’ as it will let the other person feel more inclusive and personally advised. When you are introducing something new to do or something new to learn, the word “We” will create a deeper impact by introducing unity between the people and you, making a completely inclusive and positive environment. Also, whenever you are to persuade someone, be confident. Speak with confidence in your tone and maintain a positive and bold body language. Don’t be too conscious for this, if you are fully aware of why you are persuading, then confidence will come naturally to you.
- Effective exhibition:- Follow whatever you tell others to follow. You are a leader, and you need to set a great example for the people who follow you. Let’s understand this better with an example. Imagine that you are the managing director of a unit in an MNC. You have decided that your team will be leading the development process of a new product. You talk to your teammates effectively and you persuade them to take this task up – You tell them that everyone must work for 2 hours and then relax for the next 30 minutes. In those two hours, everyone must completely focus on the task and then in the 30 minutes break, they can reply to their texts, calls, emails etc., but they mustn’t get distracted while working. Everyone agrees. They work like this and you regularly check on the progress. While you are checking, many times you tell them to pause during which you either pick up the CEO’s call or reply to an email or check on the status of a message. What will this show? Your team will feel that you yourself are not following what you tell others to do, and unconsciously you give out this message which reaches clearly to them. This will negatively impact your position as a leader. To be an effective leader, you need to exhibit all the traits you tell others to inculcate in themselves. Keep this statement in mind – your actions inspire more significantly than your words.
Remember, leading the way for others is an extremely responsible role, as your influence will matter. Greed should not be the primary emotion behind leading the way; it should be the emotion of service and gratitude. In leading the way, don’t say things for the sake of it and don’t preach what you can’t follow. Don’t fake your ability to listen to what others are saying while not really doing that, because other people will recognise this delusional falsity and will naturally move towards reality and truth. If you do just the opposite and be genuine, then people will be truly happy to be around you and you will feel fulfilled and responsible…