Developing the Leader in You
You can Learn to Lead
By Greg Price
Psst…. You’re in school. You have aspirations in life. You may even be looking to become a founder, CEO, or maybe a board member. Here are some thought questions for you.
What skills are needed in today’s business environment to get ahead? What must one do to become a successful leader, to run a department, or to lead an organization?
Certainly, getting trained in hard skills may get you a seat in a cubicle, but what happens to you after that? What must you do to find your way into the C-suite? How does one go about developing leadership skills needed to lead in today’s challenging business environment?
Assessing the Environment
Do an assessment. Look around you. How many founders of organizations do you know have trained themselves to lead others successfully? Maybe this is a better question: How many of you have had a poor boss?
Today’s business environment has changed the playing field for everyone in business from those running an organization to employees who work at them. An entrepreneurial mindset can deliver on a promising future. But, what is the difference between being a founder of an organization and being a manager of a department? Are the skills to lead any different?
Okay, enough of the questions.
Leadership is considered a soft skill, while developing a spreadsheet (and similar tasks) is considered a hard skill. As you develop your skills set in the organization, take stock to further develop your soft skills. Developing leadership skills can support your career as you navigate organizational politics.
You may be born with charisma, but leadership is a teachable skill.
The attributes that make up soft skills belong to the behavior one exhibits, the knowledge one acquires (think: experience and academics), and the environment that one surrounds him/herself. Building these personal attributes helps to develop an understanding of the state between being an employee and the state of one who manages responsibility and leads others to reach for greater goals themselves. Most employees will often see themselves as someone who has no power. This leads to a false sense of security and should be looked at differently by every individual.
As an employee, the first thing to develop is your followership skills.
This is an important aspect toward the growth of becoming a leader. Most employees believe that leaders are individuals with positional power, yet being a leader is something anyone can become. Having a voice, building one’s values, and believing in them creates personal awareness which leads to followership first, then to becoming a leader. Navigating toward this space is not easy, but there is help.