Is Leadership A Skill?

Over the last two decades there’s been a lot of people writing about the skill of leadership. Some of it has been amazing. John Maxwell is a leadership guru who’s probably taught millions of people how to lead. There’s also been a lot of bad advice written about it.

Leadership Is Influence. Nothing More And Nothing Less

John Maxwell

In some of his books he also states that it’s neither positive or negative. I tend to fall into his line of thinking on that. Having people follow you is a skill and it’s one you can develop.

However a good question to ask yourself is, “When people finally start following you. Where exactly are you going to lead them?”

In our society we tend to only look at the positive side of leadership. We see the sparkly person leading a company, or an army officer leading his troops to victory in battle. But the other side, the one that lost, they had officers, and they’re leaders too.

What Is Leadership Skills?

Leadership skills are the ability for a person to direct and guide a group of people towards a common goal. Keep in mind the goal is neither positive or negative. It’s just a common one.

Hitler was a leader, and so was Churchill but look at the difference these two leaders had on the world. One (Hitler) made an extremely negative impact, while the other was mostly positive.

Leadership skills, can be utilized by all people. However, as leaders and followers we should be careful who we are following, and where we’re going.

It’s extremely important.

Is Leadership A Skill Or Trait?

I believe leadership is both a skill and a quality. It’s merely semantics but I will explain below.

Leadership skills can be developed early on pretty quickly. If you’ve ever seen a family with a lot of children. Watch the oldest couple of kids. They tend to exhibit leadership traits and tendencies because they receive a lot of practice doing it.

I’m from a family of 6 children. You better believe we got a lot of practice. Now this doesn’t mean the youngest children are doomed to a life of following. It just means they need to find their practice elsewhere.

However before we get into that, I wanna speak a little about the most important skills you should have.

Effective Leadership Skills And Traits:

This isn’t an exhaustive list. In fact I’ll probably update it from time to time, as I think of more great leadership traits and skills.

  • Leaders Need To Communicate Properly
  • They Need To Respect The Group
  • Be Organzied
  • Hard Working
  • Able To Handle Stress

So I stopped after these 5, mostly because they cover a lot of the good leadership skills I’d like to cover.

Leaders Need To Communicate Properly:

As a leader you won’t get far if you can’t tell the team your goals for the future. How will they know where to go, and what to do, if they don’t now your expectations.

They Need To Respect The Group:

Leadership is a skill, and when a leader doesn’t respect the group. They become a tyrant. That invites rebellion, members of the group slowing you down, and people leave.

When a leader doesn’t respect the others. That person becomes a leader in name only, and the rest of the group loses morale and focus.

Be Organized:

I’m not an organized person by nature. However I will bring people into my group that are. Usually I’ll let them come up with plans/solutions to help work through my disorganization.

If these aren’t your skills, add someone to the group who has those skills. It’ll help you immensely.

Hard Working:

It should go without saying, that a lazy leader loses respect and the ability to control a team. They won’t make it long, and the team will usually disband.

Handle Stress:

Good leaders can handle stress. This includes stress they have to deal with daily, and the stress of from their team.

The Most Important Leadership Skills To Have

Over the last decade I’ve read/skimmed a lot of peoples opinions on leadership, and one thing I never wanna do it tell you to lead others like I do. I’m a great leader, people love it when I’m in charge and we all have a good time, however not everyone can lead like me.

And I don’t have the skills to lead like others.

Inside each and every one of us there is are inherent skills that God has given us. They’re natural biases, strengths, and weaknesses. It’s nature vs. nurture but also where we have the best options for improvement.

Leadership Skill #1 Learn Who You Are

Until you know who you are, you’ll never be able to lead with total confidence. If you have no idea who you are or what your general make up is, you’ll just wind up copying the leaders around you.

That can lead to detrimental problems.

In my early 20s I had this problem, and I’d been in leadership roles for years prior to this. I was involved with an organization and dealing with a lot of family issues, and wound up mimicking a leader above me. He could get away with some of the things he was doing because of his personality, and I could not.

Because of my behavior, I had to quell a mutiny with my team.

However it was quelled because I’d learned point #2.

Leadership Skill 2 – Respect Those Around You

My failure and ultimately my victory came from this 2nd skill. I had failed to respect my team, and so my team disrespected me. To fix my failure, I humbled myself, and went back to apologize.

The rift was fixed there, but it took awhile for trust to be rebuilt. When you don’t respect people. They will not respect you, and then you’ve lost influence. Once that happens, you might as well be a manager who doesn’t care about his/here people.

How To Improve Your Leadership Skills?

The two skills I wrote above are universal. Whether your an extravert who grows a family like me, or an introvert that does the whole laze fair style of leadership. You have to know yourself, and you have to respect the people around you.

You Need To Practice

To improve how you lead, you’re going to need some practice. For me it took a few years of being in leadership positions and I’ve done it for a decade or two afterwards. Now I tend to be looked at as a leader even when I’m not trying. Most of the time I’m not, and I don’t want it.

It’s a skill that eventually just happens. Because when you find out who you are, and respect people. You develop influence, and inevitably you start to change the people around you.

Breaking The Enigma Of Leadership

I should’ve made this my top paragraph, but a lot of people view leadership as the person in the front leading the troops. That’s not entirely true. A leader is someone who can change the flow. If we only view the people on the front as leaders, than how can the quiet and shy people lead?

They can lead using their own skills and abilities. They can lead in small groups and individually. Eventually if they like, they can overcome their shyness and lead lots of people.

However, if leadership is influence. If a shy introvert influences the loud extravert, and that leader leads his/her people to greatness. Who’s the real leader here?

  1. Find Yourself – Learn Your Skill Set.
  2. Respect Those Around You
  3. Gain Influence, And Direct Toward Common Goals That Are Good.

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