How to be a good leader

    To mark National Leadership Week, we look at the qualities
    essential to being a good leader. The first thing people need to
    remember is that there is a big difference between being a leader
    and being a manager. “Management is more about the day-to-day
    running of a project or team and focuses on administrative tasks
    needed to get the job done,” says Mike Petrook, spokesperson
    for the Chartered Management Institute. “Leadership is more
    dynamic and about creating a vision which people who work for you
    will want to follow.”


    Having a vision

    Every leader needs a clear idea of what it is that they, their team
    and organisation are trying to achieve, how and why. This is
    particularly important for the many social care organisations that
    are going through so much change at the moment, such as those
    having to establish new, integrated ways of working.
    “Organisations are facing a lot of requirements to respond
    rapidly to change so they need people who can lead them through
    such changes,” says Vanessa Robinson, adviser on organisation
    and resourcing at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and


    Communicating the vision

    As Petrook said, leaders need to be able to communicate their
    vision and inspire people to be part of it. If people do not
    understand what it is that you, as a leader, are driving at or why,
    chances are they will disengage from what you need and could resist
    change. Unfortunately, according to research by the Chartered
    Management Institute called Inspired Leadership, many
    professionals do not feel part of an overall organisational vision.
    The research found that

    79 per cent of managers want their leaders to have a genuine shared
    vision, but only 38 per cent have seen evidence of this in their
    own organisations.

    Look at your strengths and weaknesses

    Assess what kind of leader you are. What would you say are your
    core strengths and what areas need work? Be honest with yourself
    about your weaknesses. If you can work out where you are lacking,
    you can concentrate on improving those skills. According to
    Robinson, key qualities that leaders need are the ability to manage
    change, coach and motivate teams, inspire and empower people.
    Consider how well you score on these areas.


    Get skilled up

    Once you have identified your weak spots, think about how you are
    going to improve them. There are plenty of courses on leadership
    issues, but make sure that you choose ones that are tailored to
    your needs. Look at what your company has to offer. Also consider
    checking any external courses that you think would be helpful. Many

    opt to go down the MBA route and say it is the best, if most
    difficult, thing they have ever done. Doing an MBA is a massive
    time commitment, so make sure you know what you are taking on.
    Think about more informal, continuing ways to learn new skills as
    well, such as getting a mentor or networking with your


    Look around you

    Think about leaders who inspire you or have inspired you in the
    past. What is it

    that impressed you about their leadership style? What skills or
    personal qualities

    made them good leaders? While everyone has their own style of
    leadership and you don’t want to just ape other people, it is
    beneficial to learn from others. On the flip side, also think about
    the failings of leaders you have worked with or met – you can
    learn as much from other people’s mistakes as from their
    positive qualities.


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