All manner of communities and organizations need leaders. The quality of leadership affects the success of these groups, small or large.
Just like communication skills, leadership skills are learned and enlarged through experience, facing challenges, and ultimately from episodes of failure and success. Whether you are new or experienced in a group, opportunity to develop these skills is likely available in some capacity if you step forward.
In years past the ‘authoritarian’ leadership style was in vogue, wherein complete responsibility and control was exercised, with little or no input from team members, the latter essentially task completers. The authoritarian approach does not foster personal or professional growth of other members.
Thankfully, this has been largely replaced by the ‘team’ approach, where people are guided by a common purpose, collectively determining goals and plans, while sharing the work.
However, teams need leaders, to help the group generate cooperation and facilitate discussion. Leaders of teams have an attitude of service, offering their own knowledge and skills to help others challenge themselves and grow, while working together to accomplish team goals.
This type of team leader has several characteristics:
- They want team members to participate in decision-making
- They encourage the flow of information, striving to keep everyone focused and united
- They help team members identify challenges and work together to solve them
- They recognize that people make mistakes, and learn from them
- They offer encouragement and support, understanding that developing member knowledge and skills benefits all
- They prefer to persuade others by fostering commitment and collaboration
The benefits in a business setting include improving the quality of work life, as well as products or services produced, inevitably enhancing the corporate bottom line. The benefits in a community setting are similar.
Team leaders believe in serving and bettering their organization or community. This is reinforced by all participating members of a group, perhaps acting as leaders in a supportive capacity on specific projects or in helping major decisions solidify. Ultimately their lives of leaders and members are enriched, as is the community itself.
Successful leaders today understand their role is to serve others. By serendipity, in giving others opportunities to learn and grow, even more leaders evolve.
Moreover, developing these practical skills can add to credentials for those entering the workforce, as well as enhancing opportunities to those of us with more seasoned backgrounds.