‘LEARN’ From Within to ‘LEAD’ From Within
Have you ever tried to teach your child mathematics? And what about speaking the truth? You would have realized that teaching facts is a lot easier than teaching soft skills. And this analogy applies to leadership lessons as well.
It is possible to teach people strategic, communication and technical skills. But soft skills like honesty, truthfulness, courage, and so on cannot be taught because these are essentially insights. You either get them or you don’t. And the only way to ‘learn’ these insights are through experiences. Some of the soft-skills that leaders learn on the job include:
- Listen more, talk less: Initially, leaders believe they need to do most of the talking in order to inspire the team. But eventually they realize that listening is more important to gather information and foster understanding which assists effective decision-making.
- Give trust to earn it in return: Trust flows from the top. Leaders will have to take the first step by providing employees autonomy to perform their tasks and take decisions. Trust is the way to build relationships and collaborate.
- Show heartfelt appreciation: Successful leaders quickly learn that a kind word or a pat on the shoulder is all it takes to make people feel good (as long as it’s genuine).
- Courage: Nobody can teach you to be courageous. You have to find it within you to make bold calls, take unpopular decisions, confront reality, and talk straight even when you don’t have all the answers.
- Flexibility: Not every problem demands the same solution and hence the sooner you learn to be flexible and open-minded to new ideas, the quicker and easier it will be to find appropriate solutions to problems.
- Honesty: Nobody can teach you to stand up for your decisions. You’ll have to learn to stick your neck out and stand by what you think is right. Honesty is what will lend credibility to your leadership.
There are many soft skills like these which leaders learn only on the job. Which soft skills have you learnt through experience?