By: Mary Jane Alvero Al Mahdi
“Leadership is seeing the value in every person. Leadership is not about getting the task complete but, “mentoring a relational experience where one person improves another with God-given resources.” ~ John Maxwell
I used to think that leaders were just born. The life struggles and the difficulties I have been through in my life have made me a better leader and helped others to appreciate their potentials. After winning the prestigious Emirates Businesswoman Award in 2008 and receiving a succession of accolades, I visibly realized that leaders are the ones who are developed and shaped with life experiences. As we grow, our leadership potentials begin to unveil itself when we start influencing others by our values and seize every opportunity to lead others to greatness.
How many times you have influenced or even mentored others?
Magnifying our everyday life and sharing these experiences with friends, colleagues, peers, networks and family members whom we interact with are immeasurable opportunities for each of us to make a difference. Provide direction and support to our family and co-workers during unstable times, set a positive example of what honesty and ethic means in work and daily life, find a way to balance our lives with career and family, provide a safe place for our children to learn and grow. At the same time, encourage your children and relatives to go for their dreams or start a business that solves a problem in the society we live—these are all occasions in which leadership is called for.
When people hear the word leadership they think that it is all about being the one in-charge or the boss. In a more profound reality, leadership is mostly about influencing people to get up and go in a particular direction. Being an effective leader entails knowing what is his/her true identity and purpose. Some individuals fail to lead because they don’t act in a manner that reflects their true self. When a leader is goes off track and fails to act authentically, people who follow him/her lose their trust; this violates the principle of leadership. The bottom line of leadership is building relationships of trust. People who trust will follow regardless of where the leader will take them; in the absence of trust, the productivity and effectiveness of working as a team is hampered. An effective leader behaves in a trustworthy manner.
Basic Skills of a Leader
Active listening is one of the basic skills that a leader must have. Hearing what people are really saying, concentrating on the message, absorbing it and reading body actions to obtain information, to understand, and most of all, to learn. According to the International Listening Association, only 2 percent of the population ever received formal listening instruction. In my workplace, I have created an open door policy in which I encourage others to have a dialogue with me concerning the difficulties they face in managing their operations. Active listening improves productivity, as well as an ability to influence, motivate, avoid conflict, resolve and negotiate.
Asking your team powerful questions is another basic skill a leader should have. I believe that I unleash the power and potential of my team when I ask them well-positioned questions. One of my leadership roles during meeting is to listen. If I well and ask them questions certainly, I will get a good response and we will meet at a common point of direction. Effective two-way communications will ultimately build trust between a leader and his/her team.
The third basic skill is concluding and guiding people with well-defined action steps. We could keep on talking and not getting anything done. Conversations will be meaningless if they are not culminated and directed to a clear course of actions.
Taking the Lead
Leadership is the ability to get results. Leaders emerge when people need other people to get results and leaders take action with no guarantee of success. Most of the leaders fall of the track because they try to be everything to everyone. They should focus on their areas of strengths and identify their weaknesses. Bring people who will complement one another with their strengths and fill in the gaps. The result of good leadership is not only a well-rounded individual but also an accomplished team. True leadership comes not from position but from participation and