Developing Leadership Skills for the New in the Workplace

It is never too early to start developing leadership skills. As someone new in the workplace, you may aspire to become the leader of your organization some day. Some people believe leaders are born and not made.

It is possible to develop leadership skills. If you accept the fact leaders behave in a certain manner, then it is possible to learn the behaviors of a leader. People follow leaders because they have gained their trust and earned their respect.

Learning to be a leader takes a long time. Because of this, it is wise to start developing these skills early. What are the areas you need to work on when developing leadership skills?
1. Integrity
Leaders have high ethics. They are honest. If you are to gain people's trust then it is important to learn this trait early. Some of the actual situations you can practice this behavior is taking responsibility for your own actions. Do not play the blame game when things go wrong. Leaders take personal responsibility for their team’s actions and results.

2. Passionate
Leaders are passionate. They are enthusiastic about their work and they even have the ability to rub this energy off on their followers. Do you take on assignments given to you enthusiastically? This is one good behavior to start when developing leadership skills.

3. Commitment
When developing leadership skills, look at the easiest to start. Commitment to your work is one of the easiest. Can you truly say you are willing to work hard at the job assigned? Leaders work hard and have a strong discipline in following through with their work.

4. Courageous
If people are to follow you then as a leader you need to be courageous. Leaders are brave when they confront risks and the unknown. The ultimate test of a leader’s courage is also the courage to be open. When looking at developing leadership skills, do you have the courage to speak up on things that matter?

5. Goal Oriented
Leaders are very focused on the objectives that need to be attained. They develop a plan and strategy to achieve the objectives. In addition, they will also need to build commitment from the team and rally them to achieve the organization’s goal. When developing leadership skills, start by looking at how goal oriented you are now. Improve upon that behavior.

6. Developing People
Developing people whether by training, coaching or teaching them is one of the main traits of a good leader. No one can achieve organization goals alone.

The team is needed in order to achieve them. Leaders develop the people to build a stronger team so that the organization is effective. Start by developing your own knowledge when developing leadership skills.

7. Prioritize
Leaders do the most urgent and important things first regardless of their interest in them. For them, whatever that needs to be done should be completed with the best possible effort. How do you fare with this trait? Do you tasks that you are uncomfortable with? Start developing leadership skills in this area by recognizing what are the important tasks to complete.

8. No Public Glory
Leaders understand that at best they will get private credit for their work. Public glory is not expected. They know whatever achievements are the result of joint effort of their units. They share glory and credit with the rest for the work. They know they are only as good as their team. When developing leadership skills, ask yourself this – are you generous enough to share the fruits of your unit’s achievements?

Developing leadership skills is a long process. Some people are born with such traits. They develop into leaders much faster. Leadership is also a set of behavior as much as a skill. Hence, it is possible to learn leadership skills. Start now and when the opportunity arise you will be ready.

Here are my recommended books and articles on leadership

Harvard Business Review on Leadership (Harvard Business Review Paperback Series) has a good collection of classic articles on leadership and its challenges. It includes classics like What Leaders Really Do (John P. Kotter), Managers and Leaders: Are They Different? (Abraham Zaleznik) and The Work of Leadership (Ronald A. Heifetz and Donald L. Laurie).

Harvard Business Review on Breakthrough Leadership contains important work on leadership like - Primal Leadership: The Hidden Driver of Great Performance from Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee.

Lastly, Harvard Business Review on What Makes a Leader has an excellent collection of articles that includes What Makes a Leader (Daniel Goleman), Narcissistic Leaders: The Incredible Pros, the Inevitable Cons (Michael Maccoby) and Why Should Anyone Be Led By You (Robert Goffee and Gareth Jones).

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