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Develop Better Leadership Skills

Develop better leadership skills

Leadership skills are a set of five subset skills that, when combined, cause a person to be perceived by the others in the group as their leader.

The five major leadership skills are:

  1. Imagination
  2. Goal focus
  3. Communication
  4. Self-confidence
  5. The ability to inspire others to act

Are leaders born or can leadership skills be trained?


Some great leaders seemed to be born leaders. They never went to school to learn leadership, yet they became leaders based on their innate ability. Napoleon Bonaparte was that type of born leader.

The rest of us must rely on our ability to learn. Just as you learn to do anything else, you can learn to improve your leadership skills.

How can you learn to improve your leadership skills?

By concentrating on the purposeful development of the five qualities listed above.

1. Imagination

Leaders have the capacity to imagine what might be done.

Paraphrasing Reinhold Niebuhr, it is true that:
"Leaders learn to quickly accept the things they cannot change, they have the imagination to change the things they can change; and they have the brains to know the difference".

The important thing here is NOT to accept the status quo. Leaders can see how the situation could be improved and they accept the challenge to do it.
They take personal responsibility to make things better.

This takes imagination.

Can you see yourself as the person who will make a difference? Or, when you see something that is not right, are you more likely to say: "Someone ought to do something about that." And walk on by.

Leadership and Management : Develop better leadership skills

2. Goal focus

Once a leader has seen in his or her imagination what can be done, the leader focuses her attention on it relentlessly until it is done. They don't waver. They don't give up. They don't back down. They keep going for weeks, months, and years, until the job is done.

This quality of relentless goal focus is the distinguishing characteristics of great leaders. Great leaders have their goal locked into their subconscious, so deeply, that no failure or setback is enough to dissuade them from their goal.

Non leaders do not have this quality. Non leaders give up too soon. They are discouraged or distracted too easily.
Examples of people who are great leaders who are committed to their goal: Florence Nightingale. Winston Churchill.

3. Communication

All leaders need followers. And therefore all leaders need excellent communication skills.

Notice that most leaders are also great communicators. Leaders are good with words.

  • Churchill was a great communicator. He was good with words.
  • Martin Luther King was a great communicator. He was good with words.
  • J.F.K. too was good with words.

Even sporting greats such as Muhammad Ali was known as much for his mouth as he was for his muscle.

Leaders need to be able to communicate their message in order to:

  • Explain to the followers what their goal is.
  • Inspire the followers to want to share in the same goal.

Great leaders work hard on their communication skills.

4. Self-confidence

As noted above leaders don't give up. They don't waver. They don't back down. They keep going for weeks, months, and years, until the job is done.
This quality requires a certain degree of self-confidence. Leaders have a strong belief in their own ability to tell the truth of any situation.

They are not reliant on other people's opinion. They are willing to form their own judgement based upon their own identification and evaluation of the facts, as they themselves see them.

Leaders are confident that they are right, and the others are not right.
They are confident in their own ability to think correctly.
Leaders are not plagued by self-doubts. They don't look to others in order to form their opinions.
Leaders are intellectually self-confident. They trust themselves more than they trust others.

5. The ability to inspire others to act

The final ability of the leader is to gain the willing cooperative assistance of others. You are able to gain their cooperation because you are employing the other five elements already listed.

You are a person with vision. You are a person with the ability to explain the goal. You can talk about the goal so that others agree with you and share your vision. You have confidence and a clear judgement, and other people recognise your confidence. When they see these qualities in you, other people will be drawn to you.

Non leaders are attracted to leaders. Non leaders lack imagination, goals, courage and self-confidence. Therefore, they will follow those people who will supply the elements that they lack.

This is why evil people can still gain a following. Hitler was an evil person but he did have a fantastic degree of leadership qualities listed above. And thus even a man as evil as Hitler was able to attract many willing followers.

Work on your ability to inspire others to take action in accordance with your goal.

All great leaders work diligently to find ways to inspire others.

Do you work diligently to find ways to inspire others?

If not, start today by attending our two day leadership course.

Summary of five skills required to be a better leader.

  1. Imagination to see how things could change for the better.
  2. Goal focus sufficient to overcome all setbacks and defeats.
  3. Communication to gain understanding and agreement.
  4. Self-confidence to have faith in your own judgement.
  5. The ability to inspire others to act willingly to achieve the goal.
  6. Continually develop and improve your leadership skills.

About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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