Sunday, February 1, 2009

What a Real Leader Knows

– Shared by Narayan Khushalani. Thank you!

This article on claims that one can learn to be a leader, just as long as you put in the time needed to learn the fundamental skills needed. How these skills are applied on a day-to-day basis, however, is what sets good leaders apart from mediocre ones.

J. Sterling Livingston, a professor at Harvard Business School, studied the connection between formal education and successful leadership. In 1971, he published "The Myth of the Well-Educated Manager" in the Harvard Business Review. One of Livingston's conclusions was that a formal business education, such as an MBA, was not a good predictor of leadership success in the long term. This finding is much less surprising today than it was back in the early 1970s. However, his other main observation is as relevant today as it was back then – namely, that four key skills define successful leadership:­
  • Effective decision making
  • Successful problem finding
  • Effective opportunity finding
  • Leadership style
Click here to read the complete article where it further discusses each of these four skill areas in more detail.

By developing your skills in these fundamental areas, Prof. Livingston argued that you can lead people, and inspire them to change. You can also be dynamic and effective in how you tackle the problems and challenges you face on a daily basis.

Key points:

  • Leaders aren't created overnight. Strong leadership is something you need to work on every day.
  • Leadership is more than learning how to solve problems and make decisions – you must focus on making your organization better through everything you do. This means that you need to understand how and when to make a decision, recognize problems before they appear, constantly look for opportunities to improve, and be aware of your leadership style.
  • When people believe in you, they'll likely trust your decisions and actions –and that's the mark of a true leader.

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