In my opinion, leadership is a gift often sought but not often used to its full potential. Whilst I don’t think all leaders are born, though clearly, some are, I do think that leadership skills can be developed. So whether you have been born with, or you have been given, the gift of leadership….what are you going to do with it and how can you develop it?
What makes a leader?
When I ask people what makes a leader they use words like motivating, honest, integrity, committed, passionate. I hear things like ‘able to delegate’, ’empowers their team’. Do these words resonate with you? Would you agree or perhaps you feel there are other skills/traits that make a leader? You might also consider how these traits match yours and also your values.
If you are thinking of developing your leadership skills then looking around you at the leaders you admire is a great start.
How can you use your gift of leadership?
Specifically thinking about your talents, it can be easier said than done to play to your strengths as a leader. This is due to demands on your time, both inside and outside work. In addition, you may find that if you struggle with anxiety or confidence that they then become barriers. When faced with limiting beliefs, the best way to combat them is to focus on facts. Whilst you may have lots of talents, it’s likely that you will have around 5 that you use consistently and some, if not all, will be talents you were born with as they are the easiest to nurture.
There are some things you can do to make sure you use your gift of leadership effectively:
- Be proactive
- Focus on where you bring value
- Recognise where your talents are required (and where they’re not!)
- Choose your projects carefully, selectively choosing those which will use your talents
Developing your talents
You, like everyone, will have talents that are not as strong as others. For these, it’s worth reflecting and noting down any talents that are critical for success. Then coming up with a strategy to develop them. This might involve collaboration with someone who is strong in that particular talent. Alternatively, you might delegate the task completely if it’s not critical for you to do it. The key is to acknowledge anywhere that you’re not as strong, then create a plan and ask for help.
Be proud of your talents
One of the talents I think great leaders have is to nurture their team, develop them and advocate on their behalf. So why don’t we do this for ourselves? If we don’t have someone to shout about our talents then it’s up to us to do it ourselves – confidently and honestly. We can never assume that others know what our talents are and which ones we want to contribute. Things you can say:
- “I love to write, I would appreciate the opportunity to take this on”
- “In my opinion what this project needs is…”
- “I can help out with this”
- “I bring my greatest value when I use my talent of [x] to get results”
You can choose any type of opportunity but I would encourage you to offer your talents to anything that excite your curiousity and interest.
If you feel that your leadership gifts and talents are not being used effectively and you want to chat further, please get in touch.