Command skills are a specific tool and are necessary in certain instances specially when personal safety is at risk. Command skills are confirmed ways to take people out of their comfort zones. Some people have a doubtful view of command skills. Their diagnoses is wrong.
One apparent example is someone shouting instructions at another person in a troubled manner. While most people think of command as merely telling others what to do, it goes much beyond that. Command is the conveying of a vision to the organization in order to achieve a goal. It does this by developing a rational vision and then clearly communicating it. Command emphasizes success and reward. The organization has to flourish to survive and in turn, reward its members
Many people in leadership positions are lacking in command skills. They –
- Are more satisfied following.
- May avoid disputes and crises, not be willing to take the pressure, have problems with standing firm.
- Might be quiet and easygoing.
- Are too bothered about what others may think or say.
- May worry too much about being liked, correct or being subdued.
- May hate confrontation or lack endurance.
- May not be calm under pressure.
- May not display a sense of seriousness or haste.
Those who are skillful –
- Prefer leading.
- Take unpopular stands when required.
- Encourage direct and tough discussions but are not afraid to finish it and move on.
- Are looked up to for guidance in a crisis.
- Face calamity promptly.
- Strengthen by tough challenges.
The best leaders in the world know not to overuse command skills. However, many leaders completely under use their command skills to the loss of the organization. They –
- May not be a team participant.
- May not be easy with other people’s ways of doing things.
- May choose to ahead strongly when other more team-based approach would do as well or even better.
- May not develop other leaders
- May become arguable and be rejected by others.
Some Causes –
- Avoid trouble.
- Can’t decide common cause.
- Can’t stand firm.
- Can’t take the pressure of leading.
- Live in constant fear of criticism or failure.
- Getting others to believe
- Not calm under pressure.
- Lack credibility.
- Are shy.
Leading makes you more perceptible and more open to criticism. Leading is exciting and puts you in control. Leading in tough or emergency conditions is all about creating united and sustained motion. It involves keeping your eye on the goal, setting common causes, dealing with the unavoidable heat, managing your emotions, being a role model, taking tough stands and getting others to believe in where you’re headed.
- Leading Is Riskier Than Following –
- While there are a lot of personal rewards for leading, it puts you in the public eye. Think about the scrutiny faced by political leaders. Leaders have to be internally safe. Leaders have to please themselves first and they have to be on the right track. They have to accept blows from critics. Can you take the heat?
- People will always say it should have been done in a different manner. Listen to them, but be cynical. Even great leaders can be wrong sometimes. They accept personal responsibility for mistakes and move on to lead some more. Criticism should not prevent you from taking the lead. Build up your heat barrier. Conduct an examination immediately after finishing critical efforts. This will indicate to all that you’re open to continuous improvement whether the result was excellent or not.
- Taking The Tough Stand –
- Taking a tough stand means confidence in what you’re saying along with the submissiveness that you might be wrong. To prepare to take the lead on a tough issue, work on your stand through mental questioning until you can clearly mention in a few sentences what your stand is and why you hold it. See how others win?
- People don’t line up behind doubtful objectives. Ask others for advice, study the problem, consider the various options and then pick one and go with it until proven wrong. Then repeat the process.
- Selling Your Leadership –
- While some people may appreciate what you say and want to do, others will go after you or even try to depreciate the situation. Some will revolt. To sell your leadership, keep your eyes on the prize but don’t indicate how to get there. Present the outcomes, targets and goals without mentioning how to get there.
- Welcome their ideas, good or bad. Any negative response can be a positive one if you learn from it. Allow them to fill in the blanks, ask questions, and disagree without appearing impatient with them. Allow others from being embarrassed, accept small points, invite criticism of your own. Help them figure out how to win. Keep to the facts and the problem before the group; stay away from personal conflicts.
- Keep Your Cool –
- Execute your emotional reactions as sometimes these reactions make others think you have problems with tough leadership situations. In such situations do you show impatience or non-verbal like increasing your voice.
- You need to recognize these as soon as they start. If you are uneasy with something you tend to disagree, ask a question instead to buy time. Or, tell the person to tell you more about his/her point of view.
- Develop A Philosophical Attitude Toward Failure –
- Most innovations fail, not all proposals succeed, most efforts to lead change fail. Anything worth doing takes lots of effort. Anything could always have been done much better. Most successful managers have made more mistakes in their business careers than the people they were promoted over. They got promoted because they had the confidence to lead, not because they were always right. Errors, mistakes and failures are part of the journey to success.
- One-On-One Conflict –
- Leading always involves dealing with person to person confrontation. You want one thing, the other person wants something else. When that happens, keep it to the facts. You won’t always win. Stay just. Listen as long as he/she will speak. Ask a lot of questions. Always listen to understand first, not judge.
- Then summarize his/her points until he/she says that’s right. Try to agree with small things. Reply to his/her points starting with the one you have the most objective information on. Then move further. Some points will always remain unresolved. List those and give a copy to your opponent. The purpose is to get the list as small as possible. Then decide if you are going to go further. Delay and get more data. Go to a higher source for agreement.
- Cutting Line –
- When all else fails, you may have to pull someone aside and tell him that you have listened to all of his objections and have tried to understand them, but the business has to move on and ask him if he is still with you. Always follow the rules of dealing with conflict. Focus on the problem not the person; try one last time to make your case; note the person’s objections but don’t confess anything; be clear; now is not the time for negotiation; give the person some time to think it over.
- Worst case, if the person is a direct report, you may have to ask him/her to leave the unit. If the person is a peer or colleague, inform your boss of the dilemma and your intention to proceed without his/her support.
- Crisis Leadership –
- Followers really appreciate sound leadership during a crisis. They want to know there is a firm hand on the wheel. During a crisis, time is the enemy. Collect all the data that exists. Make a list of data that could be gathered in a short time.
- With the assembled incomplete data, ask others for suggestions and ideas. Then decide on an action. Think about all the possible consequences and be prepared for them. Then execute the decision with an instant feedback. Make adjustments and communicate.
- Leadership Presence –
- To lead you need to make your presence felt. You have to appear and sound like a leader. You need to have a strong voice and eye contact. Intensity and confidence has to be there. A lot of leadership depends on presentation skills.
- Giving good presentations is a known technology. There are several books you can read and also attend workshops. Look to workshops that use video taping. Join your local club for some low risk training and practice. Question yourself as do you look like a leader? Do you sound confident? Do you complain or do you solve problems? If I met you for the first time in a group would I pick you as the leader?
If you possess sufficient command skills, it 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. Having command skills involves more than just assigning work to your direct reports.
You are expected to be a superhuman, with controlled emotions, with a steady inspirational personality and to get people to believe that you have everything under control even if you are completely stressed out. The power to influence is undoubtedly the most crucial competency to have. An acquaintance with the outlet of your command skills with an audience of your higher management is all that is needed for the backbones of your organization to notice you and your contributions. It won’t be too long from then for something big to be brought your way in your organization.