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Top 5 Leadership Skills

First learn to follow.

Do you want to be a good leader? First you need to learn how to follow. Observe what leaders do and learn to differentiate between the habits of the good one from the bad. If a leader does things that you feel are unhelpful, then don’t do them yourself.

Here are the top five things that you should do if you want to be a good leader.

5 – ABC: Always Be Consistent

Consistency is important. A good leader lets his people know what to expect from him. They should know how he will react to bad news or a failure. They should know how he is in the morning when the work day is just getting started, and how he is at the end of a long hard day’s work.

Inconsistency is deadly in the workplace. People will not be able to function properly if they never know what to expect. A mercurial and unpredictable manager can be destructive for an organization. People just won’t understand why their boss sometimes gets angry at something and sometimes does not. Or rewards certain positive things most of the time, but sometimes does not.

4 – Be Positive

A good leader needs to have a positive outlook. He may sometimes now things which he cannot share with the staff. This may include bad news about the direction of the company. It may even include plans for layoffs of staffers. But he cannot reveal what he knows to his team.

This is very hard to do, but one needs to be able to put on a happy face anyway. And if and when layoffs come and staffers are sent packing, the manager must still be positive. It is his job to keep everybody in a positive move and looking on the bright side so that they can confidently go about their work.

3 – Help People

It is certainly all right for someone in a senior position to get his hands dirty from time to time doing what might be considered lower level work. This is true in both the private sector as well as the military. A senior officer might get down in the field with his men and work alongside them digging ditches or doing maintenance on heavy vehicles and weaponry. Standing side by side with them lets the troops know that the man in charge does the same work that they do.

In a business this can mean sitting down with your team and working side by side with them on a project. Let’s say there is a deadline and your people must work extra hours. If you can do whatever it is that they are doing – programming, accounting, etc. – do it with them. Let them know that you are also working late and are willing to do the work necessary to get the project finished on time.

2 – Get to Know Your Staff

It is important to have regular one on one meetings with your people. Get to know them. Learn all about their families and any concerns that they might have as an individual. Be sure to remember who needs what and when.

But also get to know their personalities. You need to know when to be tough and when to say no. If someone is always taking advantage or not pulling their weight, let them know that you know. And don’t be afraid to let someone go if they do things like that all of the time.

1 – Take Responsibility

Never pass the buck! If something was your fault then say so. People simply will not trust or respect a leader who they know blames other for his mistakes. You cannot lead people who do not trust and do not respect you.

Failing to take responsibility for your own mistake, even just one time, can destroy a manager’s credibility. Once gone, trust and credibility are two things a person can rarely, if ever, earn back.

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