Frequently described as the most discussed but least understood aspect of management, strong leadership skills are essential to motivate and adapt a team when changes come along. A good leader should provide inspiration in the face of high-pressure situations and adversity.
Recent surveys have shown that over 80% of employees feel that a strong leader gives them confidence – which means that as a manager, your credibility is defined by your leadership skills.
One of the essential components of a good team is that they trust in the leader, rather than just believing the leader, and strong leadership skills are essential for gaining this trust. Team members will look to their leader to see whether their behaviour indicates that they will deliver on goals and promises.
These days, strong leadership means ethical leadership. For many years, conventional wisdom stated that in business, a strong leader will teach and guide his or her team members. However, developments in psychology have indicated that a strong leader is willing to learn as well as teach, keeping an open mind to his or her team members' ideas while challenging the status quo in order to move ahead. The effective leaders of today are visionaries.
For some, there is little to distinguish between 'manager' and 'leader', but as Professor John Adair wrote: "Our position as a manager is confirmed by the organisation, but our role as a leader is ratified in the hearts and minds of those whom we lead."