Being a leader in your organization makes you a target to criticism from your direct reports and also, the higher management, especially if you are a new hire for the job. Although leading is a powerful job, it’s also one of the hardest because you are constantly responsible and may also receive all the heat for your team. Leadership competencies involve more than the mere task of assigning work to your direct reports. You are expected to be a superhuman, with controlled emotions, with a consistent inspirational personality and to get people to believe that you have everything under control even if you are completely stressed out.
Develop your leadership competency skills
Welcome the risk
If you are a leading member of the management, then you already know the perks of your position, however, you are also at the centre of attention. A competent leader is required to make quick decisions with limited information and time in hand and that could put you at risk to make mistakes. Most leaders have made bad decisions but the true measure of your leadership competency is how you push through and continue to lead. Be open yet skeptical with people’s opinions on how you should do your job. This will make you seem like you are open to criticism regardless of the after effects in the positive or negative light, which is an applausive leadership competency.
Be a tough cookie
Leading is not an easy job and that’s why the higher management makes sure you check off all the requirements on the leadership competency list before handing you the job. Sometimes, you have to be the bull in a china shop and take unpopular decisions. Before you make tough decisions, whether it’s the popular stance or the unpopular, determine that you are making your decision with good, strong reasons behind it. Question yourself about strong statements behind the reasons of your stance and stick to your decisions.
Share the leadership
Although leadership competencies are attributes to you as a leader, leadership is never a one man show. Some of your direct reports may welcome your authority, while some might try to sabotage it. Keep your eyes on the goal and not the path to get there. Let your direct reports bring in their ideas on to the table and their criticisms about you too. Keep your personal battles with the person and not his role in the organization. Live up to your managerial role and guide them to take a win with the tasks. Give credit where credits are due.
Bag your emotions
Some leadership competencies require you to be superhuman like. You are expected to bag your emotions as a leader and control your outbursts. As a leader, you are ought to seem calm and in control at all times. The little ticks in stressful situations are easy to be caught on by your direct reports, no matter how much you try to mask it. Your behavioral pattern emphasizes the measure of your competency as a leader and your command over your direct reports.
Prepare to fail
As a leader, you might be put in a tough spot with a difficult decision to make with limited time and information in hand. Sometimes, those decisions may not be the right ones, but failure is a part of life. Your competency as a leader demands you to welcome failure as a learning situation. You need to dust yourself off and keep leading on. Most top business leaders have made more bad decisions than good ones and that is probably why they are where they are. If you haven’t failed at anything while you are on the job, you aren’t doing it right!
Being a person of authority will often put you in a position where you would have to deal with face to face confrontations with individuals in your organization from time to time. Use your leadership competency skill of conflict resolution in such situations. Keep your cool and let them talk without your impatience stopping their train of thoughts. Sometimes, they might talk right into your point of view and you can have your ‘I told you so’ moment but only if you let them talk long enough. Avoid pulling rank to get your way unless absolutely necessary; instead, make a list of differences and resolve each issue by coming to a mutual understanding in sections.
Leading through a crisis
Your leadership competencies are put to the hardest test when critical situations arise on the job. Your direct reports expect you to be their commander in chief in tough situations and getting stressed out is not going to help or motivate them. Keep your lines of communication with your team open at all times. Gather all the information and make a decision that seems the most right to you with ample suggestions and opinions from your direct reports and analyze all possible consequences to your decision, good and bad. Keep a Plan B team ready if things start to go south so you can recover from it sooner than later.
Physical attributes to leadership
Leadership competencies maybe phantasmagoric, but to have command over your direct reports, some physical attributes really matter. Keep your tone of speech strong and commanding. Your posture must be straight and build a charismatic personality that will put people in awe. Your presence must seem powerful and inspirational. Join public speaking groups like the toastmasters or leadership development classes to develop leadership competency skills. Find clothes that make you look sharp and smart, become action oriented and configure your work space to define you as a leader.
Practice to lead
Leadership competencies are developed and are not genetic attributes. Volunteer to lead task teams as a direct report at work, join clubs that require you to take charge of small tasks, lead a team in family games and take charge of community organizations. These small tasks of leadership will help you develop your leadership competency skills and coach you to be ready to take on leadership roles at work and be in charge of a department at large.
If you have the ability to draw attention and take stage at a group setting and make a mark, then it is a vital stepping stone into your career. The power to influence is undoubtedly the most crucial leadership competency to have. A meeting or two with the outlet of your command skills with an audience of your higher management is all that is required for the pillars of your organization to notice you and your contributions. It won’t be too long from then for something greater to be brought your way in your organization.