Are You A Leader?

The Leadership Author Warren Bennis once said that, when he thought about what constituted effective leadership (in general terms), he felt that it was often easier to “know when it is seen” rather than to define it in specific written terms. And of course, the same could still be said because there are many different types of leadership and many models of potential successThe only really effective way to discover whether you are a person who has the “right stuff” is to seek direct feedback from others, in a rigorous way, so as to discover which skills or traits may need more work or development.

Despite the need for third party feedback and an individualised plan to develop “the right stuff” to be an effective leader, experience tells us that there are some common characteristics in good leaders. In the rest of this blog we will describe four areas that tend to emerge most often in the well rounded leadership-bound individual.

These are:

  • Self management
  • Managing others
  • Managing change (including being creative/innovative)
  • Functional skills

Let’s look at each of these in a little more detail remembering that a potential leader doesn’t have all of these in the early stages of their development:


Self-management is about having or developing a range of skills including:

  • Assertiveness
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Personal/Time Effectiveness
  • Stress/Pressure Control.

As we grow in mastering skills and gaining knowledge in these areas, we develop a solid foundation upon which to start to lead others and later take on more difficult tasks such as change management.

Managing Others

This is the most difficult and rewarding aspect of being a leader but one that most individuals struggle with because there is so much to learn about topics such as:

  • Coaching/Mentoring
  • Generational Leadership
  • Leadership/Management Skills
  • Motivation and Empowerment
  • Teams and Teamwork.

A prime additional skill here for any leader is to communicate well with others. However, to do this effectively an individual has to work on a range of skills including:

  • Feedback Giving/Taking
  • Influencing others
  • Listening

 Managing Change

Every organisation/Church faces both small and large-scale change on a regular basis and to tackle it well needs a reasonable understanding of a range of relevant subject areas. These include:

  • Change Management Skills
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Creativity/Innovation
  • Risk Management and Sustainability.

Although not all of these topics are about change handling directly, they are often about what occurs when change happens and approaches to help tackle it when it does.

 Functional skills

Once we have mastered how best to manage ourselves, others and day to day change there are a range of leadership activities that need to be appreciated at a functional level. This may vary from one organisation/Church to the next but will usually include:

  • Planning
  • Cost Control
  • Goals/Objective Setting
  • Problem-Solving/Decision-Making.

Every leader needs to know at least the basics of theses skills in order to be successful. By building knowledge and skills in all of these areas, individuals will be able to both ask better questions and guide others more effectively.

In conclusion then we can say that a continual development of skills in all four of the above areas help to determine whether or not an individual is “Leadership material” or has the right stuff. It may not be enough to know for sure until he or she is actually in the role but it does help to mitigate the risk substantially.

Comments (1)

  1. Gary Hourigan

    Very clear insights here. Who said leadership was easy? But this gives clear insight into identifying potential derailers and areas for development.

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